In Afghanistan’s security-challenged southern province of Kandahar, panellists at a UN-backed televised debate discussed the increasing importance of Afghan youth in the region’s peace efforts.
“The time has come that youth should understand their roles, responsibilities and importance,” said Gul Ahmad Kamin, a youth activist and one of the panellists at the TV debate. “Young people’s physical and mental energy should be used in a positive and constructive manner, in particular, in the interest of peace.” More than 75 university students attended the debate, supported by the regional office of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), and asked questions of the four panellists: a civil society representative, a provincial peace committee official, a media advocate and a youth activist. . Sami Ghairatmal, head of a media-advocacy group in Kandahar and one of the other panellists, stressed the importance of public-awareness programmes, especially in remote areas.
He said the Kandahar provincial peace committee should invest more in radio programmes and other awareness-raising campaigns to change minds the role of young Afghans in helping to achieve peace. “We need extensive public-awareness programmes, both on media and social media platforms,” said Mr. Ghairatmal. “Young Afghans are hardly aware of the realities and importance of the ongoing war, which is the reason they are being used or misused.” Toward the end of the debate, the panellists concluded that young Afghans acting together, harmoniously, can be a strong force for change. They urged the government to leverage their collective power. The debate was televised on Hewad TV & Radio, reaching an audience estimated at 400,000 people in Kandahar, as well as many others viewing on satellite television. UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission that provides good offices; promotes coherent development support by the international community; supports the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation.