News - Election 2014
The Afghanistan Youth Movement announced support for presidential candidate Zalmay Rassoul on Monday. The organization's leader, Najeebullah Saleemi, said that Rassoul had presented more persuasive plans for addressing the problems facing Afghan youth than any of the other nine presidential candidates.
The presidential hopeful, and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, has received a number of high-profile endorsements in recent weeks, including one from former candidate and brother of the president, Qayoum Karzai. However, with 70 percent of Afghans currently under the age of 25, Monday's endorsement could prove the most impactful one yet.
The Afghanistan Youth Movement - the country's largest youth group - announced support for Rassoul at a gathering in Kabul on Monday, which Rassoul attended.
"God willing and if the people support our team, 50 percent of my cabinet members will be youth and 20 percent will be women," Rassoul told the crowd on Monday.
In addition to promising to fix unemployment and other problems facing Afghan youth, Rassoul emphasized inclusivity and said his administration would be ethnicity-blind, focusing only on merits.
"No matter what ethnicity the Afghan youth are from, they will be involved in the upcoming system," Rassoul said. "The ethnic balance will be merit based."
Saleemi also spoke at the event, explaining the priorities of the group that led to the decision to join Rassoul's cause.
"For the improvement of Afghan youth, their talents and thinking, and the increase of their education, the Afghan Youth Movement announces support for Mr. Rassoul's team," Saleemi said.
Saleemi previously served as the deputy of Abdul Rasheed Dostum, the head of Junbesh Milli Party and First Vice President of Rassoul's competitor, Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. Reportedly there were disagreements between the two men that ultimately led to Saleemi's departure.