Afghan Youth and Peace

The majority of Afghan youth do not see a bright future in politics and therefore turn to illicit behavior such as joining a militia or selling drugs.

afghan-youthMy perspective is without the youth struggle, it is impossible to achieve success, particularly in peace building.

Youth have novel ideas and are energized to implement their ideas. The youth have capabilities to create new thinking and make social changes which lead to new ways for peace. The youth can build relationships across ethnic, religious and political lines and raise their voice for peace and opposition to war.

As the backbone of a country, youth should have a greater role in government to help achieve peace. In the case of Afghanistan, it is difficult to imagine a scenario where genuine peace is achieved without youth participation.

Nearly 70 percent of Afghans are under the age of 25. Unfortunately, the Afghan government ignores this key constituency. After decades of war and hardship, the Afghan government has been unable to end internal divisions. This may in part be attributed to the fact that the government does not listen to its youth.

The majority of Afghan youth do not see a bright future in politics and therefore turn to illicit behavior such as joining a militia or selling drugs. Afghanistan is the world’s largest grower and producer of opium and has at least 1 million drug users.

The Afghan system creates this self-inflicting cycle of despair by not allowing everyone student the opportunity to pursue higher learning at the university level. Even educated Afghans with a college degree are not guaranteed jobs. In this despair, unable to provide for themselves and their families, many turn to drugs or joining terrorist organizations.

If Afghanistan and the international community honestly wants peace in Afghanistan and rest of the world, they need to have a more inclusive youth program. If the youth are given a fair chance and have a greater role in their nation’s future, they will help serve the cause of peace.

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Inayat Ur Rehman is a Political Science and International Relations student. He can be reached at afgyomo@gmail.comRead other articles by Inayat.