Over the past two decades, drivers have obtained their driving licenses by completing training courses and tests. However, the Ghazni traffic department under the Taliban administration has declared that the driver‘s licenses issued during the republic period are no longer valid, as they were allegedly distributed to individuals through administrative and financial corruption. Consequently, the Ghazni traffic management has requested that drivers retake the course and the test in order to obtain new driver‘s licenses.
Several drivers and motorists in Ghazni have expressed their criticism of the new rule of the Taliban, noting that most of the Taliban driving in the city do not possess driver‘s licenses, yet they are demanding that ordinary citizens obtain new ones. The drivers have reported that the Taliban are responsible for most traffic incidents, yet the traffic department under their control is not taking any action to address the situation. Over the past week, they have been subjected to harassment at traffic checkpoints, had their licenses confiscated, and had their cars stopped.
Mohammad Hewad, aged twenty–nine, is a taxi driver in Ghazni city. In an interview with Hasht–e–Subh, he stated that he had obtained his driving license two years ago, after studying for two weeks. Just two days ago, he was travelling to Tawhidabad, near Ghazni city, when he was stopped at the Balkh gate and asked to present his license. He showed it to the traffic officer, but was informed that he had to retake the exam as his license was out of date. Hewad mentioned that he still had almost a year left on his driver‘s license, but was concerned that he would be questioned again at checkpoints and that his car would be stopped.
A driver in Ghazni city, who wished to remain anonymous, recently revealed that he had been required to re–enroll in a traffic law training class despite his driver‘s license still having eight months of validity. He stated that he had been a driver for ten years and had obtained his license twice, both times requiring him to take an exam before being granted the license. He further explained that he had been taken to a traffic jam from an intersection with around twenty other people, where he was asked questions which he answered, but his answers were deemed unsatisfactory and his license was taken away. He went on to say that he had been out of work for a week and was now preparing to take a driving license. He concluded by noting that the disorder in the area was caused by those who had come from the surrounding area or those who drove military vehicles, none of whom had a license, yet no one questioned them about it.
The Taliban traffic department in Ghazni city has revoked the driving licenses of hundreds of drivers based on the findings of the Hasht–e–Subh. As a result, these drivers have been required to retake a training course. The traffic management officials of Ghazni, under the control of the Taliban, have confirmed this and stated that the driver‘s licenses were distributed during the republic based on financial corruption and are not valid. However, the truth is that in the previous government, driving licenses were distributed after 15 days of professional theoretical and practical training and after the approval of the health committee.
Complaints had been raised about unprofessional drivers in the country‘s major cities, and it was commonplace to obtain a driver‘s license for a relatively high fee. However, the traffic department had no authority to revoke the driver‘s licenses of drivers. It is assumed that the Taliban traffic department in Ghazni is revoking previous driver‘s licenses and forcing drivers to obtain new ones in order to generate revenue.
For the past year and a half since the Taliban took control of the country, the implementation of traffic regulations has been restricted. Until recently, drivers in most cities, including the capital, were not asked to present their driving licenses. However, this process has now begun in Ghazni, and there have been no complaints from citizens of other provinces.