Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Afghan Youth Debates: Helmand Safe to Vote?

By Mohammad Wali Zirak

An election official in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand region has warned that some areas may be too dangerous to allow elections to go ahead next April

Shafiqullah Safi, a regional spokesman for the Afghanistan Independent Election Commission, was speaking at an IWPR-run debate in the province.

Not all districts were stable enough to allow a free and fair vote in the presidential and provincial elections, he said, noting that Taleban activity in the Dishu district in the south of Helmand, close to Pakistan, and in Baghran in the far north, could stop people from getting to polling stations.

Students taking part in the debate said that despite safety concerns, they remained determined to cast their ballots, and to pick candidates who pursued the public good rather than personal agendas.

Mohammad Wali Zirak is a university student in Helmand.

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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