Taliban’s chilling crackdown BEGINS: Faces of women brutally defaced at Kabul beauty salon

Afghanistan: Women protest against Taliban in Kabul

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Beauty salons throughout the war-torn country have already felt the full force of the Taliban. A number of pictures have emerged of the front of one outlet with images of women defaced using spray pain in Shar-e-Naw in the capital of Kabul in Afghanistan. Other images show an armed Taliban fighter resting a large rifle on his shoulder walking past the same salon with the images of the defaced women in the background.

The latest horrific images coming out of Afghanistan come after the Taliban held their first official news conference in Kabul since the shock seizure of the city.

There have been growing fears the Taliban will now flex its muscles to grab power away from thousands of women.

But on Tuesday, the Taliban declared a wish for peaceful relations with other countries, with the group insisting it would respect the rights of women within the framework of Islamic law.

The group’s main spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said: “We don’t want any internal or external enemies.”

He insisted women would be allowed to work and study and “will be very active in society but within the framework of Islam.”

The spokesman told journalists in Kabul: “The Islamic Emirate is committed to the rights of women within the framework of Sharia.

“Our sisters have the same rights, will be able to benefit from their rights.

“They can have activities in different sectors and different areas on the basis of our rules and regulations, educational, health and other areas.

“They are going to be working with us, shoulder to shoulder with us, and the international community.

“If they have concerns, we would like to assure them that there is not going to be any discrimination against women, but of course within the frameworks that we have.”

The European Union had warned it would only cooperate with the Afghan Government following the Taliban’s return to power if it respects fundamental rights, including women, and prevents the use of Afghanistan’s territory by terrorists.

The statement from Josep Borrell, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, came following a meeting of EU foreign ministers to discuss the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan.

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He said: “Cooperation with any future Afghan government will be conditioned on a peaceful and inclusive settlement and respect for the fundamental rights of all Afghans, including women, youth and persons belonging to minorities, as well as respect for Afghanistan’s international obligations, commitment to the fight against corruption and preventing the use of Afghanistan’s territory by terrorist organisations

Mr Borrell called on the safe and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance to Afghan women, men and children that require it.

Earlier today, the US EU and 19 other countries combined to release a statement calling on people leading Afghanistan to guarantee the protection of women and girls in the country.

The statement read: “We are deeply worried about Afghan women and girls, their rights to education, work and freedom of movement.

“We in the international community stand ready to assist them with humanitarian aid and support, to ensure that their voices can be heard.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come under pressure over his Government’s response to the crisis in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday evening, it was announced Britain will welcome up to 5,000 Afghans during the first year of a new resettlement programme.

A total of 20,000 will be welcomed over the next five years, prioritising women, girls and religious and other minorities.

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