As Taliban seize licenses, Afghan women fight for right to drive

Taliban authorities in Afghanistan‘s most progressive city have directed driving instructors to cease awarding licenses to women.

While Afghanistan is a profoundly traditional and patriarchal society, women driving is widespread in major towns, notably Herat in the northwest, which has long been considered liberal by Afghan standards.

Jan Agha Achakzai, the chairman of Herat’s Traffic Management Institute, which regulates driving schools, stated, “We have been orally told to cease granting licenses to women drivers… but not to ban women from driving in the city.”

The Taliban, according to Adila Adeel, a 29-year-old women driving teacher and owner of a training facility, want to guarantee that the next generation does not have the same possibilities as their mothers.

“We were advised not to give driving lessons or issue driver’s licenses,” she explained.

In August of last year, the insurgents-turned-rulers regained control of the nation, pledging a kinder rule than their previous reign of terror, which lasted from 1996 to 2001 and was marked by human rights violations.

However, they are gradually restricting Afghans’ rights, notably the rights of girls and women, who are barred from returning to secondary school and many government posts.

“I told a Taliban (guard) that it’s more convenient for me to go in my car than to sit next to a taxi driver,” Shaima Wafa remarked as she went to a local market to buy Eid al-Fitr presents for her family.

“I need to be able to take my family to the doctor without having to wait for my brother or spouse,” she explained.

No formal order had been issued, according to Naim al-Haq Haqqani, the chairman of the province communications and cultural department.

The Taliban have mostly avoided releasing national, written decrees, preferring instead to let local officials to issue their own, sometimes verbal, edicts.

“It is not stated on any automobile that it belongs solely to males,” Fereshteh Yaqoobi, a long-time driver, explained.

“In reality, a woman driving her own car is safer.”

Zainab Mohseni, 26, recently sought for a driver’s license, claiming that she feels safer in her own car than in cabs driven by males.

According to Mohseni, the newest judgment is simply another proof that the new leadership would stop at nothing to deny Afghan women their few remaining rights.

“Slowly, steadily, the Taliban aim to tighten women’s limitations,” she stated.

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