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

Afghan Youth Debates: People Expect Security, Jobs and Justice

By Harun Hakimi






Any new Afghan government must focus on generating jobs, addressing corruption and helping stabilise a country weary of war, an IWPR debate has heard.

Abdul Aziz Samim, head of the National Democratic Institute office in Afghanistan, said meeting people’s expectations would be a mammoth task for President Hamed Karzai's successor.

Voters were tired of injustice and needed assurances that the April 5 ballot would not mark a return to widespread violence, he said. If there was evidence of fraud, it could lead to political upheaval.

“People expect security, stability, employment and justice," Samim told more than 100 students attending the January 9 debate in Herat province. Voters needed to know they could cast their ballot without fear of reprisal, he added.

Political commentator Mohammad Naim Ghayur told audience members that taking part in the election should be seen as an enormous responsibility. He urged voters to give careful thought to their choice of candidate,

“We want elections that will provide us with a lawful government in Afghanistan,” he said. If people voted wisely, there was no reason why this expectation should not be met, he added.

Mohammad Anwar Matin, a local spokesman for the information ministry, also urged voters to give proper consideration to who they should support.

“We must go to the ballot box to put an end to the suffering of the Afghan people," he said.

Harun Hakimi is a student at Herat 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.