The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is shocked and saddened by the attack claimed by the Islamic State yesterday at Kabul University that killed 22 people, most of them students, and wounded 27 others. Three of the victims were members of the Afghans for Progressive Thinking (APT)—a NED partner that over the last decade has worked with more than 40,000 students across Afghanistan to promote youth leadership and a culture of peace for a more inclusive society. The attack followed another suicide bombing that killed 40 high school students in an educational center in west Kabul last week.
“While we are all devastated, we remain committed to our vision for peace and justice,” said APT’s director Mohammad Ajmal. “This young generation is the hope of our nation and we cannot grow tired of working and fighting alongside them.” (Read more in Democracy Digest.)
APT helps to strengthen the critical thinking and leadership skills of university students by offering forums and competitions for debate, conducting training sessions, and building a debating community to contribute to positive change in the country. Shaping informed and engaged citizens, APT also gathered a hundred youth representatives from all 34 provinces to discuss the youth role in the Afghan peace process.
“These cowardly attacks only bolster Afghans’ and our grantees’ determination to counter extremism and defend their democratic achievements,” says Khalid Majidyar, a senior manager for the Middle East and North Africa at NED. NED currently supports 35 organizations working to strengthen democratic progress and reform in the country. (Learn more about NED’s work in the MENA region.)
“On this national day of mourning in Afghanistan, we join with all Afghans in mourning the loss of those killed, in remembering their contribution, and in recommitting ourselves to the realization of their vision for a just and peaceful Afghanistan,” said NED president Carl Gershman. “Through support and solidarity, we can help ensure that they have not died in vain.”