targeted assassinations. Government workers, journalists, human rights activists, judges, religious scholars, students — all have been killed by gunmen or by small bombs attached to their vehicles.

On March 14, five civilians were killed and 13 wounded in simultaneous attacks when two cars with magnetic bombs attached exploded in two Hazara neighborhoods in Kabul, police said. One car exploded near the Mawoud Academy but caused no damage.

Ahmad Rahimi, 26, a teacher at the Kawsar e Danish academy, said the unrelenting violence can be debilitating. “I see the fear on the faces of my students,” he said.

Mr. Rahimi said he and his students survived a failed suicide attack inside an academy classroom in 2017, when a potential bomber’s suicide vest failed to detonate. Several students dropped out afterward, he said.

“Because of these threats, they have given up on their dreams,” Mr. Rahimi said.

Khaliqyar Mohammadi, 20, a Hazara student at a tutoring center, said he felt enormous pressure to pass the exam. He is the oldest son and the first in his family to attend a tutoring center.

He said his father was serving an eight-year prison term for carrying a Taliban-issued document required to commute to and from work in Taliban-controlled areas, a crime under an Afghan law that prohibits acknowledging the Taliban’s shadow governments.

Forced to raise his own tuition money, Mr. Mohammadi took a break from school and worked on construction sites for two years.

“The whole family is expecting me to study and change the fate of my family,” he said. “I’ll either be killed, or I’ll reach my goal.”

In part because of security fears, the number of students at the Mawoud Academy dropped by nearly half this year — to 2,000 from about 4,000 last year, said Mr. Yousefi, the teacher. But for those who have overcome their fears, studying to pass the exam has become “a matter of honor,” he said.

Sometimes, his mathematics class is transformed into a motivational lesson, Mr. Yousefi said. His students sometimes must be reminded of what they have overcome, and the high stakes involved.

“We remind them of their poverty, the risk they take to attend this class,” he said. “We tell them these classes belong to those who want to get something out of their life — and their fate.”

View Source