A controversial statement by President Ashraf Ghani about Afghan youth during a live TV debate has sparked heated discussion from Afghan journalists, members of civil society institutions, and the general public.
On Wednesday night, Ghani appeared on a live TV debate on National Radio Television and spoke about his policies on the issues facing the country.
An Afghan female activist, Fariha Esar, was among the participants who asked questions to Ghani about the security and social challenges facing the Afghan youth.
To one of her questions, Ghani responded:
“How many of you are learning in a systematic manner in the universities? How many of you are seeking a second and third chance? You (the youth) should also look at your own generation. Unfortunately, corruption among your generation is also not so small,” said Ghani.
But Esar said that Ghani’s responses weren’t convincing and she accused Ghani of insulting the new generation of Afghanistan.
However, the Presidential Palace has rejected allegations that the president insulted anyone with his comments.
“When I told Mr. Ashraf Ghani that you failed (to) obtain security of your citizens as one of your duties per (the) Constitution of Afghanistan, in response he not only insulted me by saying you are emotional, he insulted (the) young generation of Afghanistan saying (the) young generation (is) corrupted. He should apologize,” tweeted Fariha Esar.
“While I was talking, they were saying not to allow me to talk more, or it's enough, or let others' turn come---I think these all show censorship,” said Fariha.
“This is very unjustified to blame a generation who has been the victim of sorrows, pain and destruction because of their elders; I hope that the president improves his comments,” said Orzela Nemat, a researcher and civil society activist.
“Why is he blaming young people for what he has done wrong?” said a resident, Jan Yari.
You were "very brave" and asked your questions "fearlessly," which most don't dare to do, tweeted Samiullah Habibi, a resident in Kabul.
“That's very right. Everyone should ask about that but you didn't ask him that 10's of soldiers are killed daily what about that. Neither they are releasing all Taliban, (nor are) they protecting soldiers. Which is all just shameful,” tweeted a user named Sediqullah.
“Well done, you deserve the best. You are the True voice of (the) young generation. I saw all of his words and his proposals are dangerous, foolhardy and characteristically stupid. This government is based on nepotism, blundering, mafias, illiterates, jihadists, warlords,” tweeted a user named Shafiqullah.
Some other social media users came in support of Ghani.
“The matter of fact (is) that he responded very politely and truly. If we want (an) argument, we should also accept to be judged and those were the fact(s) that he shared. We don’t even respect our words and behave like human(s). He shared truth and it is us who escape from truth. Bravo President,” tweeted one user named Mohammad Zahid.
“Better think before writing he's right our generation is corrupt, there is lack of trust, lack of education. You never objected (to) Karzai he clearly supported terrorist country Pakistan but no one uttered a word. You expect him to finish the 40 yrs war in 7 yrs which is impossible,” tweeted a user named Aziza Rafiq.
“Take it easy ma’am, reminding the responsibilities of our generation is not insult of our generation, he’s right about corruption of our generation, he’s right about lack of trust in the country among us, he’s right the diplomats, DGs, DMs of our generation (have become) refugees while on foreign trips,” tweeted a user named Lais Shuja.
The palace has rejected censorship allegations.
Ghani’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said that half of Ghani’s cabinet ministers come from the youth of the country.
“President Ghani is a bridge between the young and old generations of Afghanistan. Over the past five years, the president focused more efforts on development for the outstanding youth who had not the least political support,” tweeted Ghani’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.