Countering Violent Extremism: CPAU conducted a two-day conference in Kunduz Province on the role of women and youth in CVE efforts
Young people tend to be adventurous and in search of purpose, meaning and status in their lives while going through the different stages of personal development. When the government and society fail to offer possibilities for youth to translate this energy and striving for purpose and meaning into positive actions, young people start looking for other sources of purpose. Violent extremist groups often fill the void and offer a disillusioned, frustrated, and disenfranchised youth guidance and purpose and moreover a sense of belonging. In this context, it has become clear that youth radicalization and recruitment is often based on social bonding rather than ideology as well as it is fueled by a feeling of injustice rather than poverty. The disregard of young people’s need for identity can lead to a sense of alienation within their homes, communities or countries and consequently can prompt them to turn to violent extremist groups to find recognition, fellowship, and identity.
Especially in Afghanistan – with one of the world’s youngest populations – youth are the primary target group for violent extremist recruiters. This means that young men and women need to build resilience against radicalization tendencies and therefore play an important role in CVE.
Moreover, CPAU acknowledges that women not only are victims but play a crucial role in identifying early warnings of radicalization tendencies within their homes and families. Most importantly, however, they are to be considered agents of change and therefore have to be seen as equal partners in the fight against violent extremism and terrorism.
In light of this initial situation, CPAU organized and conducted a two-day conference on the role of women and youth in preventing and countering violent extremism in Kunduz province held on May 9-10, 2016.