Afghan Youth Difficulty Adapting to Life Under the Taliban

Ahmad Fahim, 18, has a wardrobe full of jeans and t-shirts, but is forced to wear the shalwar kameez, the traditional Afghan dress when leaving the house.

“Most of my clothes were jeans and T-shirts and I couldn’t wear them anymore, so I had no choice but to burn them,” she explained.

Fahim is one of hundreds or even thousands of young people in Afghanistan who are depressed when it comes to fashion.

The Taliban are back in power after 20 years in the drastically changed city. The militants, who used to live in Afghanistan’s rugged mountainous regions, are now the city’s police.

Shortly after the Taliban seized the capital, videos circulated on social media showing security officers humiliating a young man dressed in Western clothing.

As a result, many young people are now seen wearing traditional clothes, unlike a few months ago.

Bilal Ahmad has been in the clothing business in Kabul for the last 10 years. He said he had lost most of his clients since the Taliban returned to power. Now, customers who come to his shop only need to buy traditional clothes for weddings.

Ahmad said, “We ask the government to let people freely live as they wish.”

Afghan youth enjoy snacks at Chaman-e-Hozari Park in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, September 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Afghan youth enjoy snacks at Chaman-e-Hozari Park in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, September 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Men’s barber shop owners have also experienced drastic changes in the demand for customer hairstyles. Many customers don’t ask for their beards to be shaved and avoid modern types of haircuts.

Beard trimming has been banned in some areas of the country.

Shir Ahmad, a barber, said, “Most people don’t shave their beards in different styles because they are afraid.”

Barber salon in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, January 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Barber salon in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, January 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

During their previous rule in Afghanistan, the Taliban imposed a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

Since the group took control of the country, the world is now watching the Taliban to see if they will return to their strict style of governance, as was the case in the late 1990s. [ab/ka]

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