The significance of the democratic process in Afghan society was discussed at a UN-backed TV debate in Asadabad, the capital of eastern Kunar province.
A five-member panel -- including representatives of civil society and electoral bodies, along with women’s rights activists -- took part in the event, which was broadcast on Asadabad-based Zala TV and Radio to an audience estimated at 550,000 people. Kunar province is located in the northeast of Afghanistan. It borders Nangarhar to the south, and Nuristan to the north. Most of the province is mountainous, and is known for its forests and waterfalls. Kunar’s population mostly lives in rural, remote areas that lack basic services. Panelists called on the Afghan public, particularly Kunar residents, to take an active part in electoral processes, and other aspects of democracy, so they can contribute directly to the country’s prosperity and development. “In a democratic government, every segment of society and every ethnic group can see themselves reflected in the government, as an elected government is a mirror of the people,” said Muhamad Safay, a civil society activist who stressed that democratic governments reflect the interest of the people and allow all segments of society to enjoy their rights. Suhaila Babur, director of the Kunar’s provincial department of women’s affairs, talked about the facilities and services made available for women so they can take part in the country’s social and political activities. Ms. Babur said many Kunar women have participated in Afghanistan’s elections, but noted there are many women, living in remote and rural areas, who are not aware of all the democratic processes in which they can participate. Shawali Salarzay, a civil society activist, said he hopes the government will provide good facilities for conducting elections so many people can take part. “We should be optimistic that in the future, we can ensure transparency in elections and will have fair elections with fruitful results,” said Mr. Salarzay.