Women drivers increase in northern Balkh Province

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The number of female drivers has increased substantially in the northern province of Balkh in the past few months, local traffic department officials said on Monday.

Over the last three months, at least 150 women have passed their driver’s test, said the officials.

“Since the month of Jaddi (January), over 210 women have applied for driver’s licenses and 150 of them have passed the test,” said Gen. Assadullah Assad, head of the Balkh traffic department.

The new license holders meanwhile said they were thrilled at having passed the test but that it was a struggle for women to learn to drive in the province.

“Whenever a woman takes her seat to drive in Mazar-e-Sharif city, then she is harassed by the male drivers,” said one female driver, Parwana.

“When the women stand up to the males and drive and show courage, I think this is a good point,” said one 21-year-old female driver, Rukhsar – who is the mother of two children and a graduate of Balkh university.

“Still there are some problems for women who want to learn to drive, but there are restrictions on them by their families,” said civil society activist Palwasha Paiwandi.

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