Student from Farah tops in Kankor, attended only by men  

A student from Farah province has topped this year’s national university entrance exam, officially known as Kankor, attended only by men as women were barred by the Taliban.

The Taliban-controlled National Examination Authority (NEA) announced the results Monday, declaring Mahmood son of Abdul Jamil, a high school graduate in Farah, as the top scorer.

Mahmood scored 359/360 followed by Abbas son of Mohammad Ghani scoring 357 and Abdul Baees son of Mohammad Nazeer scoring 355. Abbas and Abdul Baees were graduates of Kabul’s Ghazi High School and Habibia High School respectively.

These three scorers will major in medical sciences at Kabul University.

In July, the Taliban’s head of NEA announced that Kankor would be conducted in three categories medical, social, and scientific sciences.

More than 200,000 applicants take the nationwide Kankor exam each year, but no female high school graduates were allowed to take this year’s Kankor.

Before the Taliban seizure of power in August 2021, female test takers scored highest in the national university entrance exam for two consecutive years.

Two years after the takeover, the group has effectively banned girls’ education above sixth grade and barred women from attending universities. Taliban has also severely restricted women’s rights to employment, mobility, appearance, and other basic freedoms.

Despite international condemnation and pressure, the Taliban authorities have shown no sign of lifting these bans.