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

Afghan Youth Debates: Students Welcome Poll Awareness Efforts

By Nesar Ahmad






Students in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province have welcomed a series of debates on the April elections.

Basir Ahmad, an undergraduate at Kandahar University, said the latest event, supported by IWPR and held on February 5, was "very useful", and looked forward to discussing what he had learnt with friends and family.

“Many other students like me now understand how the campaign works," he said. "We would like to convey this message to our families and friends to increase public awareness. This was a very useful event.”

Another student, Nasir Ahmad, “I didn’t know much about the elections and the campaign process, but after attending this debate, I understand what the system is.”

The panellists at the IWPR-backed debate at Kandahar University included Abdul Aziz Akrami, public affairs officer for the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission in the province, Nesar Ahmad Aria, head of the youth affairs department in the provincial government, and Abdul Majid Hajizoi, an economics lecturer at the university.

Speakers outlined the regulations that candidates standing in presidential and provincial elections must follow. Akrami noted that presidential candidates were allowed to campaign for two months, while those standing for provincial councils had just one month.

Wahidurrahman, a journalism student at the university, raised concerns about candidates who he said were holding campaign rallies in high-risk areas, putting people’s lives in danger.

Hajizoi replied by saying that candidates should be mindful of the wellbeing of voters.

Underlining the importance of these elections, Hajizoi urged students to vote for honest candidates who were prepared to translate promises into action.

Nesar Ahmad is a student at Kandahar 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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