Afghanistan’s youth play a critical role in the development of a more peaceful and secure country, according to participants at a UNAMA-backed debate in Afghanistan’s northern city of Kunduz yesterday.
Around 50 participants -- mainly law and politics students from Kunduz and Salamm universities, but also a panel including representatives of the Provincial Council and Provincial Peace Committee, a civil society activist and a university teacher -- took part in the televised event on youth, peace and security.
Young people discussed what they can do to increase their participation in public life, how they can practically contribute to peace in the region and what are their responsibilities for the future of the country. With around three quarters of the Afghan population estimated to be under the age of 30, engaged and informed youth are vital for the country’s sustainable development.
The event was particularly germane for Kunduz, which briefly fell under Taliban control last year. The associated fighting left many civilians dead or wounded, while thousands more fled the city. Although the militants were quickly expelled, Kunduz province still faces a variety of security challenges.
Sayed Mahmood Danush, the spokesperson for the Kunduz Provincial Governor, said that youth represent change in society. He said that young people should make the most of the opportunities they have to build their future and that of Afghan society, particularly in terms of sustainable peace and development.
Geeta Bashardost, a civil society activist, said that unemployment is a major factor leading to the demoralization of educated youth, which contributed to many young people leaving the country. As such, it was important for both local and central government to provide employment opportunities.
Wahidullah Rahmani, the secretary of the Provincial Peace Council, said that people can contribute to peace even at the personal or individual level.
“If you resolve a conflict in your neighborhood, your effort will be appreciated and is a step toward building a peaceful environment,” said Mr. Rahmani.
The Kunduz debate is scheduled to be broadcast on local radio and TV stations later this month, where it will reach an estimated audience of 300,000 people.
UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission that provides good offices; promotes coherent development support by the international community; supports the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation.