[ View the story "Afghan elections: Power of youth" on Storify] Afghan elections: Power of youth With nearly two thirds of the population under 25, we ask young Afghans about the future of their country.
The Stream· Wed, Jun 11 2014 16:04:19
On June 14th, millions of Afghans will be participating in the country's first runoff election.
of the population is under the age of 25, forming the
of voters. Yet, many are
with the candidate pool, arguing that the status quo will not change.
However, for the first time, social media is
an important role in shaping the views of Afghanistan's
Internet users. The leading contenders,
utilise Facebook and Twitter heavily to reach out to their urban supporters.
Youth participation had
in the country's last elections, and many young activists today are trying to encourage political engagement. The Taliban
to disrupt this year's elections by attacking polling booths. In
, members of the Kabul-based
Young Activist Network for Reform and Change
(YARC) posted images of themselves with their fingers inked a week before elections to encourage people to vote.
Other groups with support from the U.S. Institute of Peace are carrying out engagement activities like
to find an election anthem. The winners were awarded $ 1000 and their videos were posted on YouTube:
Official Election Anthem by Sami & Shaheed with Subtitlessoundcentralfestival
Official Election Anthem by Sonita with Subtitlessoundcentralfestival
Online communities like
collect reports of campaign irregularities, security issues, election day voter testimonies via social media and text messages. They share their reports
, saying they hope to "contribute to the national dialogue about the most important issues facing the nation".
Campaign silence period begins at midnight. Our citizen journos will watch for potential violations over the next 48hrs. #AfghanElectionsPaiwandgāh
locals to share promises made by the campaigners for each province.
Dr. Abdullah came to Kapisa yesterday and met with people from Kapisa, Parwan and parts of Northern Kabul (Shomali). He promised better management of the waters of the rivers in the north and the reconstruction of the Panjsher and Ghorband hydropwer dams. For self-sufficiency and employment generation, he promised the reopening of the textile mill in Jabal Saraj and the Parwan Cement Factory.paiwandgah.af
of Afghanistan's eligible voters participated in the first round of elections in April. Many declared this a resounding success. Netizens shared images of the process on social media.
RT @Empcs: Amazing photo. Rain hasn’t stopped women from exercising right to vote in #AfghanElections #Kabul
RT @TOLOnews Afghan #sikhs show-off the inked fingers they used to vote #AfghanElections #Afghanistan
Supporters of the candidates shared images of vandalised campaign posters around the country.
The impending elections were not without incident, however. Abdullah Abdullah's convoy was
by a suicide bomber, killing six people including his bodyguards. Many expressed anger and reaffirmed their commitment to the election process.
Presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has condemned the attack on his rival #DrAbdullah Abdullah. #AfghanElectionsMasood Shneezai
We condemn the attack on Abdullah but we still want him to participate in a televised debate & face the nation #KabulBlast #AfghanElectionsBatoor Khan
The Stream community discussed how young Afghans can shape the future of the country.
@AJStream Afghan youth have had a different experience growing up to their parent's generation& more committed to creating a positive futureFai
@AJStream Youths are voting for values and programs of the candidates instead of following tribal, racial and geographical connections.Javid Faisal
@EnAhmad @AJStream Blaming our elders isn't a great idea to escape from the burden but, we surely need to learn from their mistakes.Javid Faisal
@locke @AJStream Afg youth have played an important role by aggressively campaigning thru social media for their fave candidate #TeamGhaniNilofarMassoud
Others were pessimistic about the extent of political change after these elections.
@AJStream Conversation with young Afghan: Worried Ghani wouldn't have the muscle to run a country. "Strong man" mentality still prevalent.Gary Owen
This generation won't see real political change...their grandkids may, if we're lucky.Gary Owen
@AJStream The Taliban will probably control the rural areas while the Central government controls Kabul.Benjamin Gunnell
Many discussed the most pressing issues candidates should target in the future.
@AJStream employment and better education, these are the top things Afghan youth want from candidates, transparency of election too.Rafi
@AJStream women empowerment is another major issue 1st time discussed in #afghan campaigning & resulted large women turnout in first round.Shreyas Deshmukh
@AJStream They want the same as youth of any country with few extra critical local factors,i.e. Peace/stability, narcotics control etcNusrat Ahmad