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Thousands of Kabul women get driving licences

Thousands of Kabul women get driving licences

Jan 28, 2019 - 11:30

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): At least 221 young womeninfo-icon were issued with driving licences every year over the past 16 years, but they complain of harassment at the hands of men.

Col. Wazir Jan, head of the licence section at the Traffic Department, says 3,532 young women and girls have obtained driving permits from the solar yearinfo-icon 1381 to 1396 in Kabul.

Around 628 girls and women received licences this year till January 20, he told Pajhwok Afghan News. Several women who failed the test could not get the documents.

He added applicants could learn driving at private schools and receive licences from the traffic department after passing the test. About 20 private driving courses are registered with the Traffic Department.

Samim Afghan, head of the driving section at the Ustad Jilani Wardak School in Kabul, told Pajhwok the course was established four years back. At least 60 women and girls have graduated from it during the period.

He added around 15 women had learnt driving this year. At present, three women are busy learning how to drive. But the lack of female instructors is a problem. He says students could learn driving in 35 days.

Another driving course chief in the Kart-i-Naw area of Kabul, Ahmadzai Omari, said about 42 women had been imparted driving training over the past five years. Currently, three women are being trained as part of the course.

Sanam, 25, a resident of the Shah Shaheed neighbourhood of Kabul, says she is learning how to drive based on need. But she does not want to be a driver because of social attitude.

“One day, I was traveling with my family to Logar. Suddenly, my father felt unwell, so much so that he lost the ability to drive. At that difficult time at night, I drove very slowly,” she explained.

Sanam added after the incident, she got admission to a driving course. She also complained of harassment of female drivers by some men:

“While I was driving, some boys in a car blocked my way. I sped up and there was a child on the road. I did not want to harm the boy; my car crashed into a roadside wall.”

She escaped unhurt but her car was damaged, Sanam recalled, urging men not to pester female drivers. She hailed traffic policemen for helping female drivers.

Naqibullah Nasiri, a traffic police official at the Baraki Square of Kabul, said helping people, especially women, was his responsibility. Women were more compliant with traffic laws than men, he acknowledged.

Khalida, 24, who is learning how to drive in a private driving school, said both need and interest were behind her admission to the course.

“In our societyinfo-icon, women are harassed. But because of need, we are forced to learn driving in the hope that the culture of female drivers will become normal,” she remarked.

However, several women can be seen driving in some provinces of the country. However, they complain of harassment at the hands of men.



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