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Popular singers, circus performers, dancers and many others joined the fun on Friday, August 14, as Afghanistan’s capital celebrated International Youth Day.

The festival was Kabul’s way of observing the UN-sponsored holiday, set every year for August 12. It is an attempt to empower the young generation by drawing attention to issues that impact young people.

Afghanistan’s celebration focused on “Youth and Civic Engagement,” and was conducted at the Ministry of Information and Culture.

Here’s a peek into the day’s events:

The event started with the recitation of a verse from the holy Koran and the playing of the national anthem.

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(Photo by Baqir Haidari)

The Deputy Minister for Youth Affairs, Dr. Kamal Sadat, talked about how empowering the youth can impact society and addressed challenges and obstacles facing that young people in Afghanistan.

Deputy Minister for Youth Affairs, Dr. Kamal Sadat

Deputy Minister for Youth Affairs Dr. Kamal Sadat (Photo by Baqir Haidari)

In his speech, he said that Afghan youth should create a network and share the problems they are facing, to try to solve them together. Young people living outside the country should take part in solving the issues, he said, and , if possible,  should sponsor local youth or help them get scholarships to study abroad.

The first performance was by Navid Paiman who sang a song about violence against women.

Popular singer Navid Paiman (Photo by Baqir Haidari)

Popular singer Navid Paiman (Photo by Baqir Haidari)

The Mobile Mini Circus for Children (MMCC) team put up a brilliant show with 12 little boys and girls.

The Afghan Mini Mobile Circus

The Afghan Mini Mobile Circus for Children (Photo by Baqir Haidari)

A group of young and energetic boys performed a techno dance, parkour acts and some stunts with the bike.

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(Photo by Baqir Haidari)

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(Photo by Baqir Haidari)

(Photo by Baqir Haidari)

(Photo by Baqir Haidari)

 

A graffiti artist and a painter were each given just five minutes to draw something related to peace.

(Photo by Baqir Haidari)

(Photo by Baqir Haidari)

(Photo by Baqir Haidari)

(Photo by Baqir Haidari)

 

 

In a workshop, the audience were asked to write three main problems that youth are currently facing in Afghanistan. They were given only 180 seconds to write their answers, which were then collected and given to the Deputy Minister for Youth Affairs.

A hip hop band and a female rapper also performed at the event. The girl sang a song with a message of unity, love, and peace.

(Photo by Baqir Haidari)

Female rapper (Photo by Baqir Haidari)

A group of six boys from Afghan Peace volunteers Organization performed the attan, a  folk dance performed mostly by Pashtuns in Afghanistan.

Traditional Afghan dance Attan (Photo by Baqir Haidari)

Traditional Afghan dance Attan (Photo by Baqir Haidari)

A two-minute long documentary was shown to the audience featuring Afghan youth. In the film, titled ‘What is your Peace Message for Afghanistan’ the youth were asked to share their messages.

(Photo by Baqir Haidari)

(Photo by Baqir Haidari)

One of the youth, Sayed Rasul Peshtaz, said “To bring peace we should break down the walls of intolerance and prejudice.”

You can watch the full documentary here:

The event concluded with a workshop called ‘Cloth of Hope.’

Cloth of Hope ((Photo by Baqir Haidari)

Cloth of Hope ((Photo by Baqir Haidari)

The audience was asked to write messages of hope and show their love and solidarity for the families for the victims of the Shah Shaheed attack, a massive bombing that occurred in Kabul on August 7.

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ICYMI, here’s how Kabul celebrated International Youth Day [Photos]

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