Peace at all costs? Reintegration and reconciliation in Afghanistan
This research paper captures the current reflections and concerns in Afghanistan about the strategy and expectations for the reintegration and reconciliation processes in the country. The paper also covers the challenges facing these processes.
The author believes that the current Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme (APRP) is based on flawed assumptions. Indeed, a campaign to disarm soldiers is not necessarily conducive to the building of trust required to engage the political leadership at the negotiating-table. Furthermore, political negotiations alone are likely to not be sufficient to achieve soldiers disarming in large numbers, given the complexity of the conflict. Additionally, the paper underlines the significant degree of scepticism about the capacity, mobilising power and political commitment of the Afghan Administration to implement such a comprehensive and complex operation.
Coupled with the above deficiencies, the document sheds light on some urgent needs for the reconciliation processes in Afghanistan:
- adequate support for the reintegrating combatants
- addressing the transformation of highly antagonistic relations into confidence and trust among the new generation
- paying sufficient attention to the multidimensional aspects of justice, which the Afghan people demand for a “true” process of reconciliation
The paper introduces the following recommendations:
- a concerted effort must be made to make the processes around the strategy transparent and to develop a more coordinated approach between different stakeholders
- stringent standards for the Afghan Government to implement the APRP must be established
- local realities must be recognised and expectations have to be managed
- a strong inclusive negotiation strategy should be developed, the negotiating capacity of the government should be strengthened, and a role for an effective mediator should be considered
- demands of conflict victims ought to be considered
- the regional strategy should be articulated and the role of external actors should be addressed.