Afghan Youth Debate: Nangarhar Shapes its Future

Afghan Youth Debate: Nangarhar Shapes its Future


Despite fears of insurgent attacks, election day in Nangarhar passed off quietly, activists and young people said at an IWPR-run debate on April 13.

Asef Shinwari, a writer and journalist, said people had been proud to vote in defiance of the threats of violence.

“Although [our] opponents issued a lot of propaganda… against the government and people were scared, people showed they were serious about determining their destiny,” he said.

Anwar Soltani, a civil society activist, told the 100-strong audience at Nangarhar university that NGOs and ordinary people helped ensure a good turnout.

“Civil society played a positive part in these elections, paving the way for all people to vote,” he said, adding that he hoped that the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) would deal fairly with any matters referred to it.

Nangarhar university lecturer Professor Bashir Dodyal said that people had put their own safety at risk for the sake of the future.

“The people risked their lives to vote and showed the country’s enemies that this nation can hold proper elections,” he said, adding that he hoped that a similar atmosphere would prevail if the presidential vote went to a run-off.

Zabihollah Ghazi is a student at Nangarhar University and an IWPR trainee.

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.

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