Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Context and Culture

The New Gangs of Herat: How young Afghans turn away from their community

S Reza Kazemi 19 min

In the city of Herat, an increasing number of young people drop out of school, form petty gangs, become drug addicts and generally have problems with their community. Many of these youth are also connected to friends abroad with several of them migrating to Iran, Europe and Australia to escape the local community, and recently to the Middle East to fight. So far, most research about young people in Afghanistan is focused on those socially and politically active – others are often left out when Afghan youth is looked at, particularly those with problematic behaviour. Based on fieldwork in early and mid-2014, AAN’s guest author Said Reza Kazemi* presents a case study from Herat, explaining how the community in a township in the biggest city of Afghanistan’s west has failed to bring up and integrate these youth, and describes local, regional, even global implications. 

Youth of Herat, carving out a social space of their own and seeking, as one of them told Reza Kazemi, “a way out of the country.” In the public perception, however, they are categorised by the Dari phrase "az rah ba dar shoda" - gone astray from the path or spun out of control. Photo: Christine Roehrs

Located on the outskirts of Herat city, the township under study has a history of about 20 years and a population of around 8,000 people who are mostly Shia Hazaras and Sayyeds. Because informants requested not to be named and because this dispatch is primarily interested in how local youth develop anti-social behaviour, names of persons and places have been either changed or withheld.

It is a summer evening, around 08:30pm. The weather, hot and unbearable in the afternoon, has now become mellow and pleasant. The moonlight has lit the township and a clear, starry sky is up. Musa, 21, Rauf, 18, and Mohsen, 20, are, as usual, out with their mobile phones, Chinese-made MP3 players and a small, old loudspeaker that belongs to Musa. Leaning against a high mud wall that was once part of a large orchard but has now been turned into small residential plots of land for the poor, they are listening to music, Iranian pop clearly their favourite, SMSing with their mobile phones and chatting with one another.

Musa, who is 21, explains their situation:

Boys of my age, including myself, are frustrated with school. We’re not interested in it and don’t learn anything. Some of the boys have left the school, use drugs and have created gangs… Our families and communities – they don’t understand us.

Rauf, who is three years younger, adds:

When the school teaches us something or when our parents and elders tell us something, it goes in one of our ears and comes out of the other. But when we hear something about life abroad, we listen to it with all our ears. We’re just physically here in this good-for-nothing land. Mentally we’re elsewhere – in Iran, Turkey, Austria, Sweden or Australia. Several of our friends have gone there and we keep in touch via Facebook.

Mohsen, who is 20 years old, points to a recent development:

Right now we have relatives fighting in Syria. Hey boys, look at these two clips in Facebook and see how this bastard Sunni da’esh [Arabic name for the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS] is killing innocent Shias. I also heard from someone that if you’ve got ten young people, you can go to Iran’s consulate in Herat and be enlisted for fighting in Syria and Iraq. If you do this, you get a monthly salary and a permit for your family to go to live or continue to stay in Iran. No cat, of course, catches a mouse for God’s sake only.

In this Herat township, a growing number of young people – almost entirely boys – who have developed serious problems with their community and its institutions, are actively carving out a social space of their own and are seeking, as one of them told this author, “a way out of the country.” Despite the township’s generally low socio-economic conditions, they are connected in the region and beyond through information and communication technologies that have become affordable even for people like them. In the public perception, however, they are categorised by the Dari phrase as az rah ba dar shoda or the Hazaragi phrase az rah bur shoda (“gone astray from the path,” “spun out of control” or “deviant”). (1)

Most youth research in and on Afghanistan, however, leaves out young people with social problems like them and centres, instead, on those socially and politically active (see, for example, here, here and here). This is because socio-politically active Afghan youth are and want to be visible in both the real and virtual worlds, launching civic and political movements such as the Afghanistan 1400 (read this author’s dispatch on Afghanistan 1400 here), organising gatherings such as the youth peace jirga (find this author’s dispatch on this jirga here) and conferences in different fields, from culture to business, and being active on the internet, particularly on social networking websites.

In contrast, youth with problematic behaviour hide themselves from the public eye in two ways. First, unlike the socio-politically active ones, they do not desire to attract attention to what they do because of the trouble it can create for them in the community and with law enforcement agencies. In fact, their families and communities are largely unaware about what their children do. Second, researchers on Afghan youth have seldom actively tried to engage with these youth in fieldwork, mainly because this is practically difficult as well as risky. This dispatch is, therefore, an initial attempt to open a new pathway in Afghan youth research.

A local perspective: the failure of community upbringing

When describing their community’s relationship with this particular category of young people, several of the township’s elders use the example of sheep and shepherd: “These youth are like sheep without a shepherd, and such sheep are not the good ones.” This provides interesting hints at how youth, in the perception of the community, should relate to the community and vice versa. Youth should be reined in by their community through tying them to community institutions – in this township, these are at least five, namely the family, the school, the mosque, the cultural centre and the local shura or council. As a result, youth who escape from or rebel against being tied in by these institutions in the way the community approves are labelled as “deviant” or “out of control.” Although young people with behavioural problems have certainly existed in Afghanistan in the past, the new generation, particularly after the 11 September 2001 incident, differs in terms of its education, transregional connectivity and mobility and, in one word, its “modernity.”

The most relevant community institution, as all over the Afghan society, is the family. The problematic youth have conflicts in and with their families. In this township, in families with rebellious youth, there often seems to be a generational divide as a result of effects of migration. Mostly illiterate, parents have lived a major part of their lives in far-off villages in the Hazarajat, the Afghan central highlands region, with little connection to the outside world before they came to Herat, some of them after migrating to neighbouring countries, primarily Iran and Pakistan, because of war or for labour. Additionally, given their low socio-economic status, the parents’ generation hardly has any time or energy left after their day-to-day labour dealing with their children on a regular basis. Most fathers are informal daily-wage labourers, others run small, mostly grocery, shops in the township. Many labourers have, however, been increasingly faced a shortage of offered jobs and the portion of their unemployed days per moths has recently increased. Women are not supposed to work, but some do tailoring and embroidery to make ends meet. In the words of an old father who, like most fathers in the township, is a daily-wage labourer:

For most of my life, I stayed and lived in a village. We always thought the end of our village was the end of the world. We migrated to Iran where some of my children were born and where my children saw life in a country [more developed] like Iran. They are now living in a city like Herat, and have never seen the ancestral village in the Hazarajat

Often having been born or educated abroad, particularly in neighbouring Iran, or at least having visited or worked abroad, these youth are, due to this migratory experience, breaking with their parents’ way of life. The parents often favour a largely immobile lifestyle, taking care of one’s family and kinship in a small geographical space and contenting themselves with the little they make as a living. Almost all of the township’s inhabitants have been refugees for some time in their lives – mostly in Iran as well as, to a lesser extent, in Pakistan. (2) After repatriation, most have decided to live in an urban centre such as Herat, which is closer to Iran, rather than to return to their ancestral villages, mainly because they can once again go back to Iran if there is again war in Afghanistan. (There are also better job opportunities in urban areas.) It is not just that the views clash between parents and children, but that the interests pursued in life and the hopes nurtured for the future differ and they use different languages to communicate these. The authoritarian parental way of child rearing ceases to matter, in the case of some, if not all, of these problematic young people, once these children grow up and become stronger, so that their parents cannot as easily control them physically anymore as when they were younger. Several of these youth told this author that they find it “much better” to be away from the family than to be with them, that they are “fed up of [their] parents always telling [them] what to do and what not to do,” that they have the impression that their parents do not understand them and that they find them “over-caring,” “sentimental” or “extremely stern.”

After the family, the school is a major community institution that youth with problematic behaviour immediately come into contact with. Almost all these youth are so unhappy with school that they end up becoming school haters and drop-outs. This is a serious source of tension for the family and larger community, as many parents see education as the way for finding decent jobs and acquiring the ability to form and manage a family in the future. An increasing number of young people drop out of not only the only public school but also the only private school in the township. A former manager of the public school and a schoolteacher for over a decade explained why this is so:

The biggest problem is not that the schools, particularly the public ones, don’t have buildings, doors, windows and carpets. The biggest problem is that school management is politicised, so they are connected to and depend on political elites and parties for jobs and salaries. The school management is also unprofessional. More importantly, schoolteachers are not sympathetic, caring for the child, his/her family and future and place in the country. Almost all teachers talk more about their low salaries than teaching at school. Almost all are waiting for the month to end to get money for the work they have actually not done.

Even in the township’s private school, only students that do well in their studies are encouraged; those who do not do well are continually discouraged and suppressed. Corporal punishment of children, though legally banned, continues to be a commonplace practice in both local public and private schools with some children getting seriously harmed, as some youth told this author. (3) All of this sends a clear signal: if you are not a good student by community standards, school is no place for you. The result is that this category of young people adopts exactly this message and drops out (although some of the elder drop-outs repent later on, but it is usually too late by then). There are no exact figures on the drop-out rate in this locality, but many interviewees spoke of “many drop-outs.” But the rate is at such levels where one cannot but notice a gross and clear-cut discrepancy between the official reporting of development of Afghanistan’s education system and the local, day-to-day realities (for an official description of the Afghan education system as “progressive, responsive and inclusive,” read, for instance, the recent speech made by the Afghan Minister of Education in the Asia-Pacific Regional Education Conference in August 2014 here).

Like the families and schools, the remaining three institutions, the cultural centres, the mosques and the Community Development Council (CDC) have failed to accomplish the task of tying the township’s youth to the community. The two cultural centres (formed and sustained by Herat provincial council members and MPs who then rely on them for gathering votes in times of elections) and the mosques (two fully built and running, one under construction) are two examples where it is possible to see how Afghan youth differentiate and fall into multiple categories. Young people regularly attending the cultural centres, which teach English, computer and school subjects for fees, are locally identified as jawanha-ye farhangi (cultural or cultured youth, almost all of whom are educated at school and university levels); those going to the mosques for daily prayers and other religious rituals are known as jawanha-ye maz’habi (religious youth). Problematic youth rarely meet or are in touch with these two groups, as if they lived in different social worlds. In fact, they dislike both groups. The managers of the cultural centres and the clerics of the mosques have actively tried to tie what they call jawanha-ye bisar (youth without someone heading or leading them) to these institutions by inviting them to attend courses at a discount or for taking part in prayers and other mosque activities – so far in vain. Most youth with problematic behaviour are simply not interested in anything that has to do with activities promoted through these centres and mosques.

One reason youth with problematic behaviour dislike cultural and religious youth is that the latter are locally believed as having advantages over other categories of young people, particularly those in their situation. The general perception of cultural youth is that if you are young and educated, you can get a good job and make a living when you arrive at a marriageable age and afterwards. The religious youth also have a positive image and advantage: the more publicly religious a young man, the higher his chance to be accepted by another family, get a wife and go on with a family. This is because most families favourably view young men following religious rituals.

Finally, the township’s local governance structure – the CDC, established, funded and sustained in accordance with the National Solidarity Programme (NSP) of the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) – itself has problems with problematic youth (some of the youth with problematic behaviour are, in fact, children of CDC members themselves). This author attended several meetings in which CDC members who are among the township’s kalanha (elders with influence) (4) continued to advise and warn these youth to correct their behaviour, mostly after physical fights among different youth gangs or between gangs and others, often young Sunni Tajik Heratis who live next to the township or visit over alleged teasing of the township’s girls and women. The CDC’s admonishing and scolding strategy has gone nowhere, partly because of the council’s generally negative image (it is accused of receiving money in the name of the community but doing little for it) and partly because several CDC members have, like other parents, lost control of their own grown-up kids. Also, the township’s CDC members, elected about a decade or so ago, have stayed in their positions ever since and will most probably stay even if there is another “election” (read this author’s dispatches on local election-related discourses here and on the shaping of a local electoral field here). As a result, many local people, including youth with problematic behaviour, view them as “people who care, first and foremost, about their own personal interests, particularly with getting their pockets full of government and donor money [i.e., NSP projects] without other people who elected them catching wind of it,” as one of them told the author. (5) On the other side, the CDC members, who are generally economically well-off and socio-politically connected and influential, often complain of local people not appreciating the amount of time and energy they spent on addressing the community’s public affairs.

Carving out a space of their own

Rejected by and/or frustrated with the community and its institutions, problematic youth slowly find one another, start to empathise with and support one another and create a space of their own, as Musa, Rauf and Mohsen do almost every night. Generally hidden from the public, this space is geographically shifting and characterised by a sub-culture of its own. Members dress in a different way (e.g., blue and white jeans that are considered “liberal” and “stylish” by the community), speak in a different way (e.g., extremely uncouth by community standards) and generally live and behave in a different way (e.g., pursuing their pleasures and adopting a generally carefree outlook to life as opposed to focusing on work or education) – these are then perceived by the community as “deviant” or “out of control.”

Although seen as a gang from the outside, internally each member thinks of and pursues his own interests while attempting simultaneously to show himself as part of the gang. Nevertheless, bonds among gang members – based more on friendship than kinship – are generally strong and supportive, but temporary in terms of how long the ties last in most cases. They have names and signs for their gangs and usually carry knuckledusters and knives.

Starting with petty anti-social behaviour such as teasing local boys and girls at or around the school and elsewhere in the community and publicly smoking cigarettes, some of these gangs have moved into organised anti-social activities. In the township in question, some gangs took names intended to arouse awe and fear such as “Godzilla,” “Aqrab” (“Scorpion”), “Zarbat” (“Strike”) and “Eskelet” (“Skeleton”). They are involved in petty criminality, like thefts from shops, particularly late at night, and petty extortions. Some have also appointed themselves as guardians of the township’s girls’ and women’s honour, particularly against intrusions from young people from neighbourhoods of different ethnic or religious backgrounds. As a result, most fights between the gang members and other people in the township and outside are over girls and women. They still have no clear, hierarchical structures or acknowledged permanent leaders and are mostly temporary in composition, but they might continue to develop in terms of organisation, leadership and operation in the future.

Although acting as self-appointed guardians of public honour and morality, gang members and most of other problematic youth are themselves not very moral or ethical, at least by community standards. According to this author’s research, they engage in what is locally called dokhtar bazi (flirting or efforts to seduce girls and women, which can cost them hugely if they are caught by the community) and they systematically distribute pornographic films through CDs, DVDs and computer flash or hard discs and watch them in group or alone while masturbating. Computers, laptops and mobile phones belonging to these youth are, as a result, often full of pornography. For some, watching pornography has become so “commonplace” that they have shifted from consuming human-human sex to more deviant varieties. A young boy organising such activities in the township said:

I distribute pornographic films to the boys. They love them. When one of the boys learns that there’s going to be no one at home for a night or so, he lets others know, so they can also come to watch pornography. We go at great lengths to hide our pornographic materials from our parents and elders. I’ve myself made thousands of Afghanis selling films to the boys and buying myself the things I need such as new shoes, new trousers and a brand-new dish antenna. Sometimes we bring in a girl or woman for sex, paying them, depending on their conditions, 300 Afghani (six Dollar) to 3,000 Afghani (60 Dollar) [for most people in the township, 3,000 Afghani is not an insignificant amount of money].

In addition to this petty criminal and immoral behaviour, at least as perceived by the community, these youth, particularly the gang members, drink alcohol and use drugs such as hashish and opium (all criminalised in Afghanistan). What is noteworthy is that although the community authorities and these youth share the same general space (i.e., the houses and alleys in the township), behaviour of problematic youth takes place in their own autonomous space, and most parents and other social authorities (i.e., school, cultural centre, mosque and CDC authorities) are generally unaware about it.

A transnational perspective: problematic youth without borders

Many problematic youth from the township have gone abroad in groups or individually, particularly recently. Using connections with smugglers in the township itself and beyond or with friends who have gone before them, they can meticulously plan their trips and calculate the financial and logistical implications. Most of them steal money from the family and travel step-by-step, working and making money in one destination before moving on to the next. Once some gang members go, the remaining ones feel the urge to follow suit like parts of a chain. Often, one can see several of these youth busy with their mobile phones and on Facebook, exploring from afar other worlds and trying to learn how to make it there. They are regularly via Facebook in touch with friends from the township who are currently in Australia, Austria, Germany, Iran or Sweden – all of them went there illegally. “You won’t see me tomorrow if I’ve got the money to make it there,” one of these youth stated after a visit to a friend who had made it to Austria and had returned for a short visit. Many of the visitors from abroad come to Iran in order not to risk their refugee status and then cross into Afghanistan, bribing Afghan border guards not to stamp their passports with entry and exit.

Youth with problematic behaviour have objectives for going abroad: it provides them with an opportunity to effectively escape from the community and its institutions and to more freely engage in activities they enjoy. For example, most of these youth – once in Iran, working and making some money – effectively evade community regulations on marriage and have easier and cheaper access to both Afghan and Iranian girls and women for casual sex. In the township, one needs at least 600,000 Afghani (12,000 Dollar) to marry, besides following a range of complicated and costly traditions and rituals. Outside the township, in Iran for instance, one does not have, in the words of these youth, “the family watching over one’s head.”

According to the cases this author could follow, travelling overseas changes different youth with problematic behaviour in different ways. Some of those in Iran and further beyond the region (e.g., in Australia or Europe) become hard-working, self-made individuals, but many engage in liberal sexual behaviour, become drug addicts or continue with more organised gang-like and criminal activities, mostly thefts that can raise easy and quick money.

Some of them have recently ended up on the battlefields of the Middle East, enlisted by the Iranian government and then being dispatched to fight on the side of Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria (read also this AAN dispatch on a group of Afghans fighting there, here). This author has identified at least three such young men and talked to their families. This fulfils these youngsters’ passion for fighting, but there are also other motives: getting a monthly salary paid by Iran’s government (reportedly as high as 500 Dollar per month, which is much higher than normal monthly wage in the township, which is around 150 Dollar, if one is lucky enough to find a job at all) and securing themselves a permit to live in Iran. It is, however, not easy to make it to Syria and possibly Iraq: there is as of now no local mobilisation to this author’s knowledge, so the young men need to smuggle themselves onto Iranian soil where, among other hurdles, they have to pass confidence and religious-ideological tests taken by the Iranian security institutions, most notably Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. In the words of a relative:

A brother of mine who used to work in the Afghan National Army deserted, went to Iran through smuggling routes and has now been sent to Syria for fighting on the side of the Syrian government. He had lots of trouble at home with our father and disliked school. So, the war fulfils his desire for fighting and killing.

This trans-border movement of people indicates how local aspects have increasingly merged with regional and global ones in Afghanistan, with the country’s global connections expanding particularly since 2001 – the year the Taleban were removed from power by the US-led international anti-terrorism coalition. (6) These enhanced local-regional and even local-global interactions have been largely enabled and facilitated by information and communication technologies, particularly the mobile phone and the Internet, most importantly social networking websites.

What does it mean socio-politically?

Afghanistan is a country with what has been called a youth bulge – a demographic excess of youth as compared to other age segments of the population. In other words, it is a youthful country – the under 25 year-olds, according to official Afghan government and UN estimates, constitute around 70 per cent of Afghanistan’s over 30 million population (see here).

What is understudied is the complexity of Afghanistan’s young population. It is important to analytically differentiate its various categories and how they differ in terms of their social, political, cultural, educational, religious, ideological and other orientations at sub-national, national and supra-national levels (for a differentiation of youth in the township in question, see footnote 1 below). More importantly, the social and political implications of Afghanistan’s predominantly young population are disputed. (7) The dominant Afghan governmental and societal perceptions as well as of foreign and local researchers are of the youth as ayandasazan-e watan, “the future-builders of the homeland”, i.e. as a resource charged with positive connotations of progress. This is the result of most research focusing on socio-politically active youth that desire to be visible, unlike problematic youth that want to be hidden from the public, therefore neglecting the threat potential that is linked to the societal processes that have led to the emergence of groups like youth with problematic behaviour patterns.

The study of problematic youth, however, alters these perceptions by complicating the analysis of what and how a young population like that of Afghanistan contributes to a country’s future. It makes it harder to make any conclusions about the social and political implications of a youth bulge. Both the Afghan government and the Afghan society – particularly those who traditionally hold positions of leadership (like heads of family and elders of communities) – need to consider the changes these youth explicitly or implicitly demand as demonstrated by their behaviour patterns. For instance, changes in education by making it more inclusive and encouraging even for those who do not do well in their studies, but also in marriage by making it more negotiable and affordable and in employment by creating job opportunities for both the well-off and educated and the non-well-off and less educated can help keep and sustain at least some of these youth in their local community and larger society.

Otherwise, if spiralling out of control, these youth can exacerbate the current societal conflicts or turn into a new potential for even more conflict. It would not be the first time in the decades of Afghan armed conflict that young, disenchanted men are mobilised in various roles. Many fighters and commanders on all levels in the different factions have basically started out as rebellious youth and, depending on the circumstances, have risen into positions of influence. At the same time, if not taken care of, a part of the young people with problematic behaviour (i.e., the substance abusers) will not be able to contribute to society, but will become a burden for it.

In the township in question, many problematic youth have gone abroad for various purposes. In fact, some of the township’s residents pray that the ones who have left never come back. If they return, and potentially link up with other problematic youth across the country, they might constitute a risk for a troubled country as Afghanistan still is. It is not sufficient that parents, authorities and other residents of the township enjoy a good night’s sleep knowing many of these problematic youth far away across state borders. Instead, they and the larger Afghan society and government need to start understand and accept what is legitimate in these youth’s demands, try to keep and sustain them at home and definitely prevent further mobilisation of such young men in violent conflict, be it in Afghanistan or in the Middle East.


* Said Reza Kazemi is a PhD student (2013-16) at the University of Heidelberg in Germany where he is focusing on the impact of global migration on the Afghan family institution in local and transnational contexts. This is part of a larger study at the university on the demographic turn in the junction of cultures. He has previously worked as a researcher for the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN).


(1) What is certain is that there is no one single category of youth. In the township in question, for example, this author has come across these categories of youth: cultural or cultured youth (jawanha-ye farhangi), religious youth (jawanha-ye maz’habi/hezbollahi), educated youth (jawanha-ye tahsilkarda), civic-activist youth (jawanha-ye fa’al-e madani) and deviant youth who are labelled in various ways such as jawanha-ye velgard (vagabond youth), bisar (without head/leader/family elder), bibandobar (not bound by any law or moral conduct), ela’i (carefree), laobali (promiscuous), bandbaz (gangster), tabahkar (delinquent or criminal) and landaqar (immoral).

(2) For a detailed account of migration in wartime Afghanistan, particularly from Afghanistan to Iran, see Kristian Berg Harpviken (2009) Social Networks and Migration in Wartime Afghanistan, Palgrave Macmillan: London and New York.

(3) One of the problematic young boys this author personally knew was being repeatedly punched and kicked by the private school management in the township, because he was not doing his homework, was naughty and used to tease other children, particularly girls. That boy escaped from his family, joined the Afghan National Army (ANA) in Ghor, Kabul and finally Herat– only to desert the army and smuggle himself to Iran apparently for working in the informal Iranian construction sector. “He was crying when another relative and I met him in Kabul. He was terrified. Many of his friends had gone to battlefields across the country with only their dead bodies returning to Kabul,” said his brother.

On 21 October 2014, the Afghan Ministry of National Defence reported that 6,853 ANA soldiers and officers had been killed from the solar hejri year of 1382 (2003/2004) to the first half of 1393 (2014).

(4) The township’s kalanha (elders with influence) include CDC members, so-called white-beards, mullas, businesspeople and landowners. In a way, they comprise the township’s aristocracy or elite.

(5) This CDC has so far received two major NSP projects: one project to build a school and the other project to pave streets and alleys. For each project to receive from the NSP, each valuing around USD 60,000, the township has had to pay some USD 10,000-15,000 in bribe to various relevant Afghan government institutions, in addition to partial misappropriation by and among CDC members themselves later on. The CDC is in the process of receiving the third major NSP project: to construct a parallel water supply system to compete with or replace the existing private water supply system. The existing private water supply system currently distributes one cubic metre of water at a rate of AFN 8 (around USD 0.16, if USD 1 = AFN 50), which is much cheaper compared to elsewhere in Herat and in the capital Kabul (e.g., in the Omid-e Sabz Township in Kabul, developed by Hajji Nabi, brother to former Second Vice-President Abdul Karim Khalili, where each cubic metre of water costs around USD 1). This third NSP project is, therefore, locally contested.

(6) For similar views, see Alessandro Monsutti (2013) “Anthropologizing Afghanistan: Colonial and Postcolonial Encounters,” Annual Review of Anthropology 42, pp. 269-85; and Michael Kearney (1995) “The Local and the Global: The Anthropology of Globalization and Transnationalism,” Annual Review of Anthropology 24, pp. 547-65.

(7) For a detailed study of this phenomenon in a neighbouring country of Afghanistan’s, see Sophie Roche (2014) Domesticating Youth: Youth Bulges and their Socio-political Implications in Tajikistan, Berghan Books: Oxford.


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