Young candidates in Afghan ballot battleground amid turmoil

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Oct 19, 2018, 12.42 PM(IST) Oct 19, 2018, 01.21 PM(IST)

Afghanistan elections Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Most of these young candidates - nearly 60 per cent - are entrepreneurs, journalists, teachers or former government employees. 

The parliamentary elections in Afghanistan will be held on October 20th and this year would be unique because a majority of the candidates are less than 40-years-old. 

Most of these young candidates - nearly 60 per cent - are entrepreneurs, journalists, teachers or former government employees. 

As polling is set to take place under the shadow of gun and terror, the Taliban has asked the candidates and voters to boycott the elections but still, over 2,000 candidates, including over 400 women, have braved the violence for a democratic Afghanistan

Here are some of the candidates and their stories: 

Twenty-six-year-old Javid Faisal was until recently a deputy spokesperson for Abdullah Abdullah, chief executive of Afghanistan. 

Faisal is running for parliament from Kandahar which is the second largest city of Afghanistan but Taliban remains active in the province. It is feared that voting may be disrupted in Kandahar with the Taliban striking in the city with a deadly attack which killed the Abdul Razeq on Thursday. 

Faisal's campaign centres around issues such as education, employment and basic amenities such as water. 

Bilal Sarwary is another candidate from Kunar in north-eastern Afghanistan who worked as a journalist for BBC and other media organisations. 

Next is 38-year-old Narinder Singh, a Sikh-Afghan. Singh is the only Sikh candidate in the election. He decided to contest the election after his father - Avtar Singh Khalsa - was killed in a suicide attack carried out by the Islamic State terror group in the eastern city of Jalalabad. 

The attack also killed 19 other Sikh- Afghans. At the time, Khalsa was running for the Afghan parliament. 

Now, Khalsa's son is contesting in the only seat reserved for Sikh and Hindu candidates. Narinder Singh laments that the Sikh community continues to live in fear and without adequate security in spite of the deadly attack. 

Zaika Wardak, is an independent candidate contesting from Kabul. Zaika's father - General Abdul Ali Wardak - was killed during the communist take-over in 1978. 

Her brother, a former army general Zalmay Wardak, who was a candidate in the election, was killed in August this year. She also lost her husband in a car accident in 2011. 

She is an engineer by training and heads an association for female engineers in the Afghan capital. 

The parliamentary election is widely seen as a dry run or a semi-final for the 2019 presidential elections in Afghanistan. 

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