Youth have an important part to play in peace, which is a prerequisite for community development and prosperity, according to panelists at a UN-backed television debate in southern Kandahar province.
An audience of around 100 people -- representing mainly youth, tribal leaders and Ullamas -- gathered in Arghandab district, some 5km north of Kandahar city, to hear a panel discussion on the role of Afghan youth in achieving peace in the country.
The panel included the Governor of Arghandab district, Haji Shah Mohammad Ahmadi, a member of Kandahar’s provincial peace committee, head of the Arghand development shura and a youth activist.
Mr. Ahmadi said that peace is essential for development of the locality and the region.
Arghandab district witnessed fighting and conflict a few years ago, which devastated the economy and crippled critical infrastructure. Now that the situation was calm, however, people live in a better environment where schools and clinics are open, said Mr. Ahmadi.
“With improved road conditions and transport, farmers can easily export their pomegranates -- which Arghandab is known for -- around the world. In addition, our youth are not engaged in subversive activities because they have jobs and educational opportunities. This is all possible because of the return of peace,” said Mr. Ahmadi.
Mohammad Naser Mobarez, a youth activist and fellow panelist, said that the country has a large youth population, indicating the significant potential role that young people can play in support of peace.
Noting that some youth in Kandahar were relatively disengaged, he urged them to take a more active part in the peace process and political forums wherever they could.
Panelists agreed that young Afghans, who act together in a harmonious way, can be a strong force for change. They urged the government to leverage the collective power of young people for peace.
The pre-recorded debate will be broadcast via Hewad TV and radio to an audience of around 400,000 people throughout Kandahar province.
The province shares an international border with Pakistan and is mainly rural. A number of ethnic groups including Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks and Baloch call the province home. Arghandab district is one of Kandahar’s poppy-free districts.