Afghanistan university entrance exams begin without female students for third consecutive year

University entrance exams began in 16 provinces across Afghanistan on Thursday, marking the third consecutive year that no female students were present.

The Taliban-run National Examination Authority announced that the exams commenced on Thursday morning.

This year’s exams are particularly significant for the absence of female students.

Since the Taliban seized power in August 2021, they have banned secondary education for girls, preventing over one million girls from attending school beyond the sixth grade.

In December 2022, the Taliban extended this ban to universities, barring women from higher education altogether. As a result, for the past two years, no women have participated in university entrance exams or any other exams necessary for continuing education beyond the 12th grade.

The international community has repeatedly urged the Taliban to lift the ban on women’s and girls’ education, but no steps have been taken in this regard.

In an interview with Amu TV, a group of women and girls in the western province of Herat reported an increase in mental health issues due to their exclusion from education. Additionally, women are prohibited from working in non-governmental organizations in the country.