Taliban officials in Afghanistan’s most progressive city have ordered driving instructors to stop issuing driver’s licenses to women, industry professionals told AFP.
Although Afghanistan is a very conservative, patriarchal country, it’s not uncommon for women to drive in larger cities – particularly Herat in the northwest, which has long been considered liberal by Afghan standards.
“We have been verbally instructed to stop issuing driver’s licenses to female drivers…but not to ban women from driving in the city,” said Jan Agha Achakzai, head of Herat’s Traffic Management Institute that oversees driving schools. .
Adila Adeel, a 29-year-old female driving instructor who owns a training institute, said the Taliban want to ensure that the next generation does not have the same opportunities as their mothers.
“We were told not to give driving lessons and not to issue driver’s licenses,” she said.
The insurgents who became rulers took back control of the country in August last year, promising a softer rule than their last stint in power between 1996 and 2001, which was dominated by human rights abuses.
But they have increasingly curtailed the rights of Afghans, especially girls and women who are prevented from returning to high school and many government jobs.
“I personally told a Taliban (security guard) that it is more comfortable for me to travel in my car than sitting next to a taxi driver,” Shaima Wafa said as she drove to a local market to buy Eid al-Fitr gifts for her. family to buy.
“I need to be able to take my family to a doctor in my car without waiting for my brother or husband to come home,” she said.
Naim al-Haq Haqqani, head of the provincial information and culture department, said no official order had been issued.
The Taliban have largely refrained from issuing national, written decrees, instead allowing local authorities to issue their own edicts, sometimes verbally.
“No car says it belongs only to men,” said Fereshteh Yaqoobi, a woman who has been driving for years.
“It’s even safer if a woman drives her own car.”
Zainab Mohseni, 26, recently applied for a permit because she says women feel safer in their own cars than in taxis driven by male drivers.
For Mohseni, the most recent decision is just another sign that the new regime will do everything it can to prevent Afghan women from enjoying the few rights they have left.
“Slowly, slowly, the Taliban want to increase restrictions on women,” she said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by DailyExpertNews staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)