Jan Agha Achakzai, the director of an institute overseeing driving schools in Herat, Afghanistan, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) in a report published on Tuesday the Taliban recently ordered his subordinates to stop issuing driving licenses to women.
“We have been verbally instructed to stop issuing licenses to women drivers … but not directed to stop women from driving in the city,” Achakzai, who heads Herat’s Traffic Management Institute, told AFP in an interview published on May 3.
“We were told not to offer driving lessons and not to issue licenses [to women],” Adila Adeel, a 29-year-old woman who owns a driving school in Herat, told AFP.
A Herat provincial official named Naim al-Haq Haqqani, who heads Herat’s information and culture department, told AFP on May 3 that his department had received “no official order” regarding the issuance of driving licenses to women.
AFP suggested Haqqani may have avoided confirming the driving ban through his carefully worded message, as “the Taliban have largely refrained from issuing national, written decrees, instead allowing local authorities to issue their own edicts, sometimes verbally.”
The Taliban terrorist organization, which is based on a fundamentalist interpretation of Sunni Islam, seized control of Afghanistan’s seat of government in Kabul on August 15, 2021, after deposing the city’s formerly U.S.-backed government. The development marked the second time the Taliban has overtaken Afghanistan’s federal government as the group formerly ruled the country from 1996 to 2001.
The Taliban vowed on August 17, 2021, to reimpose sharia, or Islamic law, on Afghanistan’s populace. The Taliban’s previous rule over Afghanistan saw the organization strictly enforce sharia, including rules that forbade women and girls from leaving their homes unveiled or unchaperoned.
The Islamic law code further prohibited girls from studying beyond primary school. The Taliban reimposed this policy on March 23 when it banned girls from attending secondary schools nationwide.
The action marked a stark reversal of a previous announcement days earlier suggesting the Taliban would allow high school-aged girls to attend classes.
“[G]irls’ schools in Afghanistan have problems with Sharia law, the curriculum is in opposition to Sharia law and jurisprudence, and … the way Afghan girls would go to schools was in opposition with Sharia and Afghan culture/tradition [sic],” Taliban leader Moulayee Rahmatullah Najib told reporters at a press conference on April 19 when asked why the Taliban made the last-minute decision a month earlier to ban Afghan girls from attending high school.
The Taliban’s March notice not only forbade all girls in grades six or above from attending school but also revealed the group had chosen to shut down all secondary girls’ schools in Afghanistan indefinitely.
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