Barbers undergo below Taliban rule as Afghans shun vogue – Occasions of India

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HERAT: Quiffs, mohawks, and crew cuts have been hairstyles Nader Shah was accustomed to styling for image-conscious younger males in Afghanistan’s third-biggest metropolis of Herat.
However because the Taliban swept to energy in mid-August, Afghans have little money to spare and worry being punished for sporting brief or trendy cuts.
“Earlier than, individuals got here and requested for various hairstyles, but it surely’s merely not like that anymore,” 24-year-old Shah stated at his barber’s store, with mirrors overlaying each wall. “Now they’re heartbroken.”
Throughout the Taliban’s first stint in energy from 1996 to 2001, the hardliners banned flamboyant hairstyles and insisted males develop beards.
After they have been ousted, being clean-shaven was usually thought-about an indication of modernity, together with within the comparatively cosmopolitan western metropolis of Herat.
“Now individuals come right here and so they solely ask for easy cuts,” Shah stated. “In addition they do not shave their beards, so it is an issue now.”
The barber, who has been within the enterprise for 15 years after beginning as a younger apprentice, stated the downturn has prompted his every day earnings to plummet from $15 to between $5 and $7.
Within the subsequent neighbourhood, Mohammad Yousefi, 32, stated he has needed to dramatically decrease his costs — from $6 a reduce to only $1 — to maintain his store working.
“Due to the Taliban state of affairs, prospects have much less revenue and so they pay us much less,” he stated.
Yousefi stated that after the Islamist hardliners took management of the nation, “all of a sudden individuals wish to make themselves appear to be the Taliban”.
“It isn’t just like the Taliban are trendy, however individuals do not shave their beards as a result of the Taliban will cease and ask them about it,” he stated. “They are saying it is not in sharia regulation, and that males ought to have beards and lengthy hair.”
At 36-year-old Ali Reza’s barber store, pink spotlights shone down on prospects and cabinets have been filled with hairspray cans, gels, mousses, cologne and face masks.
The barber deftly chopped his scissors over a buyer’s beard as ready purchasers mentioned Afghan politics.
His two apprentices — Reza’s 11-year-old nephew Sobhan and Mohsan, 14 — watched his each transfer, tidying away brushes, combs and electrical clippers, and serving to unwrap razor blades.
Reza accomplished the expertise with a flourish, drumming his fingers over the client’s head, massaging his temples and eyebrows, earlier than scrunching the unsuspecting consumer’s ears for a number of seconds.
“Previously, younger individuals would come each one or two weeks to chop their hair or beards, and so they have been completely happy,” Reza informed AFP, including lots of his purchasers had fled.
“These younger people who find themselves nonetheless right here usually are not enthusiastic about reducing their hair or beards anymore as a result of the economic system is de facto poor,” he stated.
For the reason that Taliban takeover, Afghans say job alternatives have dried up.
“Earlier than my revenue was wonderful, and now it is not,” he stated.


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