Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

Afghan Youth and Their Role in Peace Process


Afghan Youth and Their Role in Peace Process

Peace in a general definition is the concept of harmonious well-being and freedom from hostile aggression. In a social sense, peace is commonly used to mean a lack of conflict (such as war) and freedom from fear of violence between individuals or heterogeneous groups. A peaceful society is a society in which people have physical security, mental security and economic prosperity. A society where there does not exist discriminations and where people have equal access to justice, their basic rights and services.
Youth are the vast majority of Afghan population. Therefore, young people have the power to transform our communities, societies, country and the world. They are an important source of creativity and drivers of social change. Today’s generation of youth has vastly been excluded from national and global efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts contrary to the Security Council resolution 2250 stating that Building peaceful, cohesive and resilient societies requires the full and meaningful participation of young people. They should be active partners, not passive beneficiaries.
Afghanistan has been hurt so much and so long, but youth progress, resilience and aspirations have kept them focused to work for a better, peaceful and prosperous future. Two-thirds of the Afghan population is youth. The young generation of Afghanistan has been the main driver of many successes in last eighteen years; media is an illustrious example. In addition, Afghan youth have been playing an important role in bringing national unity that has a direct positive effect on peace process. Until we do not dry the root of all discriminations and prejudices, justice and lasting peace will not be maintained. We are sure that Afghanistan will never go backward since there are thousands of like-minded youth who are hopeful and committed to make their country with their own hands.
In an attempt for peace, I and more than two other thousands of youth with different backgrounds from all across Afghanistan attended the National Peace Conference in Kabul to discuss and debate our ideas of peace and present their resolutions. We debated on how we want the peace with consideration of past 18 year’s achievements. We underscored for putting the values of democracy, the constitution, civil rights of citizens in particular the women rights, media and free speech in top priority during the peace process and negotiation as these values have been gained with sacrifices of thousands of the country’s citizens and therefore, the values must not be victimized.
In addition, an Afghan peace movement from Helmand started recently its marching without shoes from southern Helmand province to Kabul requesting for restoring peace in the country. Among them was a high school student who went home to complete his final exams before re-joining the others; a young poet who was carrying in his chest one of the four bullets he was shot with; a bodybuilding champion who abandoned his gym and has lost 20 pounds of muscle on the journey; and a polio victim on crutches. Another member of the Helmand peace march was 22 years old, Zahir  Ahmad –e- Zendani who was blinded five years ago by a roadside bomb. This shows the strength, commitment, struggle and aspirations of Afghan youth for peace!
Today’s generation of youth are seriously concerned about their future as the main victims of imposed war on our country. They hold that as an influential generation they have a historical and momentous responsibility regarding coming up generations. Hence, peace talks are regarded as the future of Afghanistan and young generation.
Therefore, the United Nations Security Council resolution 2250 that urges member states to consider ways to give youth a greater voice in decision-making at the local, national, regional and international levels must be enforced in the Afghan peace talks. Youth should be actively engaged in shaping a lasting peace and contributing to justice and reconciliation. In addition, it has been stated in Afghanistan National Youth Policy (ANYP) that lasting peace and security are the most important needs of the people of Afghanistan and young people can play an important role in bringing peace and security in the country.
To conclude, if we want lasting and sustainable peace, we can no longer afford to leave youth behind. We must listen to and work with them.

Bezhan Azam is a PhD scholar in management studies and can be reached at bezhan_azam@yahoo.com.

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