Afghan Youth Debates: Turnout Matters


The latest in a series of student debates taking place across Afghanistan was held on December 8 in Jalalabad, the main city of Nangarhar province in the southeast.

The sense that past previous elections have been riddled with fraud, plus the insurgent threat to voters, could deter many from coming out to take part in presidential and provincial council ballots next April.

The Jalalabad event, attended by university students, focused on the importance of elections in a democracy. It forms part of IWPR programme work to give young people aged 18 to 28 – students in particular – a clearer picture of the electoral process and the importance of voting. (See Making Votes Count in Afghanistan.)

The audience of around 100 heard from a academics and officials who stressed the importance of a strong turnout next April.

Najibullah Khairkhwa, spokesman for the provincial department for youth, said he believed young people were supportive of the elections and anxious to cast their votes.

Zabihullah Ghazi is an IWPR-trained reporter in Nangarhar.

This report was produced as part of Open Minds: Speaking Up, Reaching Out – Promoting University and Youth Participation in Afghan Elections, an IWPR initiative funded by the US embassy in Kabul.