Definition of Youth

The 2014 Afghanistan National Youth Policy (ANYP) defines youth as those between 18 and 35 years, however also provides guidelines for adolescents between 12 and 18 years.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • --
  • XX
  • Female
  • 16
  • 15
  • XX

  • Homosexual acts illegal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Source:  Juvenile Code of Afghanistan

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • -- Male (15-24) %
  • -- Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 39.08%Male %
  • 14.48% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 13.10% Male (13-15) %
  • 3.20% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Afghanistan recently approved its first ever national youth policy in August 2014. A youth strategy is being developed.

The Afghanistan National Youth Policy (ANYP) (2014) was approved in August 2014, according to a Facebook post by Counterpart International, which supported a consultation process that included civil society, government and youth.

The policy is based on eight values, including: “Preservation of and respect for national identity”; “Provision for social justice”; “Protection of Afghanistan’s religious values and cultural heritage”.

Areas of key policy intervention are youth employment, health, education & training, and participation. Cross-cutting issues include gender equity in line with on religious principles, peace and security, sports, and environmental sustainability.

Oversight is provided by a National Youth Policy Implementation Oversight Commission, chaired by the Second Vice President.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Office of the Deputy Ministry of Youth Affairs (DMoYA) is responsible for the overall implementation of the Afghanistan National Youth Policy (ANYP) (2014), along with other agencies such as the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Hajj, Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled and the Ministry of Pubic Health. DMoYA is part of the Ministry of Information & Culture, which will report the youth policy’s progress to the Council of Ministers, as well as lobby for its political support.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
While there are several indications of a national youth council in Afghanistan, there is no formal information available on its role, capacity or structure. The 2014 national youth policy aims to “promote the structural expansion of youth councils to village and town levels and promote sustainable relations between rural and urban youth” as a key policy intervention, and the Ministry of Information & Culture’s strategy section describes that a “[n]ation wide youth council has been established and the grounds for the studies [sic] of hundreds of youth have been provided by the deputy ministry”, however there is no information beyond this.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
According to the 1392 National Budget (2013-2014), the Ministry of Information & Culture received an operational budget of AFN 837 million (USD 15.4 million). It is unclear how much of this is allocated specifically to the Office of the Deputy Ministry of Youth Affairs. The World Bank lists no data on public spending on education in Afghanistan since 2000.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed August 2013).

Additional Background

From Afghanistan National Youth Policy (2014):  
Afghanistan’s population is among the fastest growing in the world. The annual rate of population change and growth is 2.03 percent annually [... ].Based on the Central Statistics Organization’s (CSO) 2014 estimates, 63 percent of Afghanistan’s 27.5 million people are under the age of 25 and those between 15 and 24 years of age comprise 17 percent of the population. Examples from other countries have shown that with a commitment to making youth the focus of development and poverty reduction, a sizable youth population can be turned into a demographic dividend.
Afghanistan is soon to enter its Transformation Decade (2015–2024).It is therefore critical that GoIRA invest in youth strategically and intentionally in order to widely utilize their potential capabilities in the work of the state.
Note: At the Kabul and Lisbon Conferences in 2010, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Afghan Government agreed that full responsibility for security would be handed over to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) by the end of 2014 when Afghanistan will enter the Transformation Decade (2014-2015).