Unemployment identified as youth’s major problem
KABUL (PAN): The Youth High Council on Saturday expressed concerns at increasing unemployment and lack of education facilities, blaming the government for failing to pay adequate attention to problems.
The concern was voiced at a three-day conference that got under way in Kabul. Being attended by more than 300 elected members of the council, the event has been organised by the Ministry of Information and Culture.
Timor Shah Ishaqzai, deputy minister of youth affairs, told the delegates that youth from Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, through an exchange of ideas and roles at such sittings, will help resolve the country’s problems before and after 2014.
A nationwide survey would be conducted at the beginning of 2013 to assess youth’s social, cultural and economic problems, he announced, promising that they would try to resolve the issues after being identified.
But some youth rejected the gathering as a symbolic meeting, saying the government had failed to utilise international aid over the past decade to enhance youths’ capacity and take steps toward their collective welfare.
Syed Rashid Fardani, a participant from western Herat province, told Pajhwok Afghan News the government should take measures to deal with the problems resulting from joblessness and poverty in all provinces.
He listed drug addiction as a basic problem of the rising generation, saying: “Herat’s youth going to and returning from Iran are vulnerable to being hooked on narcotics.
“Unemployment is widespread in far-flung districts of Herat. Educated youth, with fewer job opportunities, are forced to go to Iran, where their fate remains unknown,” Fardani added.
The Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disables says of the million Afghans eligible for jobs, three million remain unemployed. But the National Labour Union, quoting World Bank’s figures, says 16 million people are qualified for work but only three million of them are employed.
At the meeting, youth from southern provinces called for the executions of development projects. Their families are faced with problems due to a lack of education facilities and unemployment.
Hafizullah Popal, member of the council from southern Kandahar province, accused the authorities of citing insecurity as an excuse for their failure to address the problems of youth. "Despite the creation of the Youth High Council, no positive change has come about in cultural and educational sectors for them…”
Speaking on the occasion, Wolesi Jirga Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi sounded optimistic about the development of youth’s capacity over the past 10 years. But he believed the ongoing conflict still posed a hurdle to a bright future for the youth.
“Dollops of foreign aid flowing into the country during the past 10 years have gone down the drain in terms of developing youth’s capacity in a transparent manner. As a result, they are being pushed into immorality…”
However, Minister of Information Syed Makhdoom Rahin promised they would do all they could to identify and resolve youths’ problems. It was the youngsters’ duty to help curb violence and promote democracy, he said.
A special commission, having elected members, would be constituted, announced the minister, who hoped the body would be able to prevent drug addiction different parts of the country. Raheen believed youth could encourage the people to help check corruption.
At the gathering, a message from President Hamid Karzai was read out. The president called youth an active force of society, saying they would increase their capacity.
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