News / Asia

Afghan Youth Determined to Keep Hard-won Freedoms

Afghan Youth Determined to Keep Hard-Won Freedomsi
Sharon Behn
April 01, 2014 7:24 PM
More than 60 percent of Afghanistan's population is under the age of 25, making the youth in the country a powerful voting and political block. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Kabul that presidential candidates have been actively courting young people.
Afghan Youth Determined to Keep Hard-Won Freedoms
Sharon Behn
More than 60 percent of Afghanistan's population is under the age of 25, making the youth in the country a powerful voting and political block. Presidential candidates have been actively courting young people.
It's hard to picture, but 15 years ago the Taliban held mass hangings and amputations in a Kabul stadium where soccer matches now are regularly played.
Today's urban youth are more optimistic.

But like Haideri Kawash, they are tired of years of violence. "When I come from home to do practice here, there are too much fears, bomb blasters, many dangerous things. So I hope that the new government come and ensure security all over the country."
With more than 60 percent of the population under age 25, presidential candidates are pledging jobs and stability to win the votes of youth like these.
Fahima Kawoon hosts a popular call-in music show. She said Afghanistan will never return to a time women and youth were ignored.
"When you compare now with five years ago, everything is changed, because at that time the girls were not working out of the home, and there were less girls working out of the home, or going to school, but now we see in every place, in every area, young people working," said Kawoon.

Not everyone, though, is optimistic about the future.
Rohullah was a refugee during Taliban times. Then he worked with U.S. forces trying to improve his country. Now he is afraid for his life and is trying again to leave.
"All the candidates say after they win the elections they say they are going to bring changes, they always say they are going to being changes for the Afghan people, but I think all they say is just a dream," said Rohullah.
Fred Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute in Washington said no one candidate will control the youth vote.
"I think it is not yet clear how important the youth vote will be in Afghanistan; it depends on how many young people actually come out to vote and who they vote for. I don't think that you should expect any one candidate to dominate the youth market, I would expect they will split," said Kagan.
Young business and political voices here say it is not so much about who wins, but whether they win legitimately.
Fahim Tokhi, CEO of an IT solutions company, and active on Facebook, said today's youth are willing to fight for that.
"If the election result is corrupt, I think the youth will go to streets and there will be very huge numbers of protesters in the streets in every provinces of Afghanistan," said Tokhi.
Although politicized urban youth are still fairly small in numbers in Afghanistan, they believe their reach through media makes them influential. This election gives them a chance to prove it.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs