U.S. Sponsors First Afghan Youth Congress Against Drugs

Posted by Jennie Kim
April 9, 2010
Afghan Youth Reflected in Water of River

About the Author: Jennie Kim is a Foreign Affairs Officer serving in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

Yesterday, I attended the closing ceremony of the first Afghan Youth Congress, which ran from April 5-8, 2010. The State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), where I work, funded the event through its Afghan Counternarcotics Public Information program, in partnership with the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN), and Ministry of Information and Culture (MoIC). The Ministers of both the MCN and MoIC delivered closing remarks.

The Afghan Youth Congress, titled "Youth: The Pulse of a Drug-Free Afghanistan," is similar to the U.S. National Youth Congress, where students from across the country come together to build leadership and problem-solving skills in order to make a difference in their communities. The Afghan version featured 90 delegates, including 35 females, who came from 32 provinces to participate in the 4-day event, which focused on the drug problem in Afghanistan.

I was especially impressed by the female poet co-leading the event, and a young woman from Kandahar province, who faced a host of challenges to attend. When I asked her where she was from, she told me, proudly, "Kandahar -- aren't you surprised that I'm here?"

The closing ceremony featured a student skit, a performance of the national anthem, and a reading of the Afghan Youth Congress's anti-drug pledge, which the delegates drafted and signed. The event ended with speeches by MCN Minister Zarar, MoIC Minister Rahim, and INL Director Drew Quinn from U.S. Embassy Kabul.

The prevailing theme of the Afghan ministers' remarks focused on reviving national pride. MCN Minister Zarar told a story illustrating how Afghanistan's reputation had suffered because of the drug trade. While MoIC Minister Rahim called on youth to restore the culture of Afghanistan. "We used to be pioneers, proud of our culture, known for our math and science, known for the likes of [famed physician] Ibn Sina and [artist] Kamaluddin Behzad," he said. "Now what we are most known for is having the highest levels of drug production, cultivation, and trafficking. Isn't that shameful?"Read more more about INL country programs in Afghanistan.

Comments

Comments

Ron
|
New York, USA
April 10, 2010

Ron in New York writes:

Afghan Narcotics will overflow into urban and near-urban areas with high rates of Addiction and HIV/AIDS. It is a huge mistake to halt the elimination of Opium for meager
political gain. The costs in terror-financing and human insecurity will far outweigh other factors. Failure to deal with the Narco-Economy will be reflected in the lives of Afghan youth for decades to come.

Oystercracker
|
United States
April 10, 2010

Oyster C. in U.S.A. writes:

If the USA was really concerned about eradicating drugs they'd shut down multinational banks laundering drug profits in Pakistan. Its disturbing that our government condones these practices. This is an example of why American citizens don't believe in their government anymore. Funny that all the wars fought in recent times have been where drugs have proliferated. Gee, I wonder if ther could be any connection?

palgye
|
South Korea
April 12, 2010

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Job and wages and education

palgye
|
South Korea
April 12, 2010

Palgye in South Korea writes:

To provide a group dormitory facility and drug and to escape, in order to live from terror, or, thinks method. Job and wages and education did but, that, actuality makes hour when is considerable is necessary thinks. When meal and the quarters which is suitable is provided, thinks the thing which Afghan Youth where is more forecast will support. The family which is common defends the children of the themselves from temptation and thinks the bet is difficult. Industry technique and construction technique and medical treatment, thinks about instructional method the thing which will be demand. Ardent wish is about law department economy but. Thinks the method where also the boarding school of large scale one is good. The faction and the area, remove a religious discord a little and in order stand…

The talk fell into about man and woman equally. Natural but must invest a many time,…

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