Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

Afghan Youth Unemployment: A challenge to Address Urgently

Generally youths are defined as persons between ages 18 to 35 years. In the Afghan Constitution, any person who reaches the age of 18 is legally considered as an adult with voting rights. These are persons who normally would have completed secondary education, and would either be in tertiary institutions such as the university, striving to secure employment, or be already employed. Indeed, this is in the case if they have not been trapped in the war zone areas with prolonging conflicts that have deprived many Afghan youths of education opportunities for several decades. This group of persons, those who had the opportunity to go to school, would need post secondary education, employment, and reproductive health information and services.
The challenges facing our youth are a global menace as well. As a result, the issue has remained a major focus of international discuss. Due to this, various meeting have been organized for leaders from all over the world to come together to share views on the nature of the challenges that the youth now face, in order to find practical possible solutions to this social phenomena. Also, we may be aware that, at the regional level, Asia faces a pressing problem of youth unemployment like too. Youth unemployment in many Asian countries, especially in our neighboring countries including Iran and Pakistan, is alarming and has steadily worsened during the last few years. In fact, youth unemployment on the continent is now assuming crisis proportions, and it is one of the main causes of worsening security in the neighboring countries as many of these youth join to the terrorist groups for economic reasons now a days. However, we cannot wait; our government has to explore potential options and take actions to address this challenge with short term Policies in the short period, while it should also put in place programs to address the structural causes of the problem in the long run as well.
The importance of the youth is self evident and they form not only a formidable demographic force, but also make up the next generation of parents, workers and leaders of Afghanistan. As a result, their well being, therefore, has implications not only for their own lives, but also for the Afghan society they would build, maintain and live in it. Youth families, communities and on the commitment of their governments to their development, play a vital role in enabling the youth to meet these goals effectively. Addressing needs of the youth is a major continuing public policy challenge in Afghanistan which calls for constant rethinking of policies, re-assessment of priorities, allocating adequate financial resources, and effective implementation of programs and plans. The government only can allocate more efficient and equitable resources and develop improved policy formulation and implementation when it has a research based and realistic understanding of their needs. Some scholars may see youth as a potentially destabilizing force, especially in Afghanistan. However, social scholars warn that such characterization could lead to dangerous generalizations and the demonization of peaceful majorities in the society. However, they argue the governments and societies to empower the youth and provide them more employment opportunities and engage them in political decision makings. Without such opportunities many youth,young men and women, would not be able to play a useful role in their society. As a general social phenomenon, they are effectively excluded from mainstream society. In such case it is natural that some members of this group may turn to escapism through drugs and alcohol, some may join gang groups, and some others may join the terrorist groups. Some others migrate to urban areas and as the youth movement trend show some will leave the country to migrate to neighboring and western countries searching for better jobs and living conditions. As the experience of Afghanistan shows, even after a conflict, there is always the possibility of ex-combatants returning to an armed struggle if their demands or aspirations are not met.
Youth are considered as the most vital ingredient of the society. They have huge capacity to support the society to transform from its turmoil and conflicting situations. They shall be given due opportunities to employment and political decision makings. On the other hand, if they are excluded from the main stream they would change to the most devastating elements in the society. This is why youth employment, should be considered as a vital ingredient in maintaining social stability and supporting nation building initiatives throughout the country by the Afghan government and the international community.