The dynamic of youth activism in Afghanistan: A journey between hope and desperation
This e-paper is part of our dossier "Young voices on the rise – Youth and democracy in the Asia-Pacific region".
15 August 2021 marked the start of a new chapter in Afghanistan after all international troops were withdrawn and the Taliban took over the country. The past 20 years have seen some gains in human rights and women's rights and the emergence of the Afghan youth as a socioeconomic and political force. The humanitarian situation worsened further in the second half of the year, due to both the ongoing conflict and the economic crisis that has hugely affected all Afghan citizens, in particular Afghanistan’s youth. Many young Afghans were evacuated to other countries, and those who remain in Afghanistan face many challenges, including no access to education, financial hardship and unemployment. This e-paper is written based on interviews conducted with young activists, journalists, human rights defenders and academics from Afghanistan (all under the age of 35), who have been actively involved in the process of democratisation and committed to liberal values over the past 20 years in Afghanistan; it highlights the twenty years of achievements by Afghan youth and explores their hurdles and challenges under the rule of the Taliban’s de facto regime.
Table of contents
2. Youth performance, support mechanisms and opportunities
3. Challenges and hurdles of youth participation
4. The Taliban regime and its impact on youth engagement
5. Demands of Afghan youth