Mohammad Shafiq, a recent graduate, had high hopes for his future. But as he trudges from office to office looking for a job, his outlook has darkened considerably. Standing outside the Balkh Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission, he clutched his educational documents and sighs.
“Finding job in a government office, even with the right qualifications, is very difficult due to rampant corruption,” he said. “You can’t expect to get a job without having paid a bribe, or if you don’t know someone influential and powerful to recommend you.”
Shafiq is not alone. Several young men and women told Paiwandgah that they were having similar problems finding a job. The months leading up to Ramadan were especially hard, bringing a large influx of migrants into Balkh’s capital.
As more people migrate towards the cities, there are few avenues for employment for men who come together to work as professionals as well as daily wage laborers.
One such young graduate shared how he worried about his future and didn’t know what to do. “I have completed a bachelor’s degree but am not able to find a job,” he said.
There is growing distrust among the youth toward the current government. Several youngsters the citizen journalist spoke with claimed their lives have become worse since the election of the National Unity Government.
“You can’t expect to get a job without having paid a bribe, or if you don’t know someone influential and powerful to recommend you there,” Shafiq adds.
Lack of transparency in the recruitment process, ethnic and language preferences, insecurity and a decrease in aid from the international community were other commonly perceived reasons for rise in unemployment
One unemployed young girl, Zohal, told Paiwandgāh how, despite having graduated from the Balkh University four years ago, she still remains in search of a job. Like everyone else, she is continues to look with little hope for the future. “Those who work in offices appoint their relatives without considering whether he or she is qualified or experienced,” she says. “That reduces the available opportunities for others.”
It’s worth mentioning that every year several talented youth who graduate from universities leave the country due lack of opportunities, which over a period of time can have a negative impact on Afghanistan’s growth.