In the modern world, there are numerous countries that are engaged in wars. Rebels are rising up against existing governments. This occurs mainly in the Arab countries, especially in Africa. For this reason, many governments have come up with programs which will aid in the restoration of peace. They have chosen to negotiate with the rebels and help them get back to the society. This is what has been happening in Afghanistan under the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration process in a bid to achieve lasting peace.
The Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program (APRP) is a peace program by the Afghani government. It aims to make insurgents stop fighting and get them back in the society with dignity. The program was initiated in the country by president Karzai in his inauguration speech, when he was elected president back in 2009. He had put peace first in his list of political agendas and therefore came up with this program. When a rebel joins the program, he makes the commitment to stop fighting and get back to the society. Such rebels also accept the existing Afghan government, as well as laws and orders stated in the Afghan constitution. This includes the Afghan constitutional laws on women rights. The district and provincial leaders reach out to the insurgents and listen to their grievances. They encourage them to stop the war and join the program by signing negotiations with them. However, it is extremely hard for the insurgents to trust the government officials. This is because the nation has gone through 33 years of war. That is too long for an insurgent to build his trust in the government. They proceed with much caution, while others choose not to join the program.
The fighters who accept to join the program do not receive any money. After joining the program, there are certain incentives. However, these ex-fighters do not get any personal monetary gains. The societies that accept these people who have renounced fighting get a higher chance of receiving grants for projects. This serves to encourage the different societies in Afghanistan to accept these people despite their history. The government encourages the insurgents to come back to the society and resolve all the grievances that set them into fighting. The program does not only take these fighters away from the battlefield but also solves the problem permanently. This is because no one else will go into fighting for the same problem or grievance.
For over 30 years, the nation had been in a constant state of war. This is because all the previous regimes chose to fight with the insurgents. They did not care about their grievances as long as they engaged in fight. This resulted into the massive deaths of citizens and infiltration of opportunistic countries. It also hindered the rate of development in the country despite its wealth of natural resources. However, when President Karzai was elected, he chose a different approach to the national problem. He decided that negotiations were the perfect and most permanent solution. He did not see the need for using violence to fight violence. Therefore, he came up with this program in 2009, hoping that it would bear fruits. That is how the group came to be.
Facts and Figures
In December 2009, the president of The United States, Barrack Obama, announced that US had deployed more than 30,000 US troops in Afghanistan. This was in a bid to deal with the violence in the region, as well as capture the leader of Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden. In April 2009, Australia also deployed many troops to Afghanistan on a peace keeping mission. On the 1st of May 2011, Obama announced the capture and death of Osama Bin Laden. This was the news that caused celebrations in America and a sizeable blow for the Al Qaeda. It showed that the clear intent of America was to eradicate the extremist leaders in Afghanistan. That was why they deployed large numbers of troops.
According to ISAF casualty reports, the main threat to the military troops in Afghanistan is the use of explosives. When a military combat is going on, the insurgents mostly use explosives. This makes it hard for the troops to attack them adequately. However, the troops still achieve their goals of capturing the world’s most wanted men. 1,462 civilians were reported killed within the first six months of 2011. This was a 15 per cent increase that leads to the questioning of the effectiveness of the program.
The aim of the program was to have 1000 re-integrees in it by the end of 2011 and establish the structure in eight provinces. By the end of the year, the structure had been rolled out in 29 provinces and 4,000 re-integrees enrolled. This figure even exceeded the expectations of the government. This showed that it was a program that had the capability of achieving results. Therefore, if well conducted and implemented, it could bring peace to the nation and prevent the massive deaths that occur every other time. Yet, these facts and figures have different implications depending on the person viewing them. They have been reviewed below.
Spoilers for the Program
Following are the factors that are likely to hinder the success of the program. Any government initiated program has challenges and spoilers. This one is not an exception. The success of this program is being hindered by various factors. First, the extent to which Karzai’s government can negotiate with the leaders of the insurgents is limited. This is because of factors like political divisions. There are quite a number of political divisions in Afghanistan. Therefore, the decisions that are made may not suit well all the parties that constitute the government. As a result of this, Karzai is more reluctant to negotiate with the leaders of the insurgents. This renders the program not successful or partially successful.
Karzai is also under external pressures. There are many other countries in the world which do not support the war in Afghanistan. Such countries condemn the insurgents and believe that they should not be negotiated with. They believe that they should be fought against in order to restore peace in the country. Their views might not matter, but some of them are extremely powerful countries. For this reason, the government is subjected to external pressure. This makes the implementation of the program more difficult. Therefore, external interference is one of the greatest spoilers to this lifesaving program.
There are external troops in Afghanistan which are always fighting the insurgents. These troops contradict the government program, which suggests that the best way to achieve peace is through negotiations. The result of this is more fights and more deaths. Some of these countries which interfere have their own agendas and motives. Some have interest in oil, while others are on revenge missions. There is no way that such motives can achieve peace in Afghanistan. They only increase violence all over the country. This sees to it that peace efforts by the government are called off and violence prevails. This situation is dangerous for the nation and its inhabitants since it ensures that there is always war in the country. This only serves to increase their rebelliousness rather than give them a chance to surrender. Therefore, the government efforts to attain peace are rendered useless or have minimal success.
Some of the members are not willing to take the insurgents back into the society. They feel and think that these people cannot change their attitudes and behaviours. Some of the citizens have also claimed that the program does not involve ordinary citizens. The Afghans want peace, but some of them believe that this is not the way to go. However, some citizens fully support the system and are willing to take these insurgents back into the society. However, the insurgents fear rejection from the society and hence are reluctant to join the program. This limits the results that are achieved by the program.
Afghanistan has experienced war between the government and the rebels for over three decades. This reduces the trust between the insurgents and the government. The insurgents are afraid that if they surrender their weapons and join the program, they might lose a lot of years of struggle. They are afraid that the government will not keep its promise. Therefore, most insurgents choose not to join the program but continue with the war for their rights. Therefore, the lack of trust is a powerful spoiler in the program that hinders the attainment of results. The government may also choose not to trust the insurgents since they are dangerous people. They fear letting them back to the society since they may cause insecurity to other people. For this reason, some government leaders have failed to implement the program in their respective regions. This fact greatly hinders the success of the program together with the peace keeping efforts of the government.
The Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program is a suitable program for a country like Afghanistan. However, it requires adjustments and improvements in order to achieve better results. These are some of the recommendations that can help in improving the program and involving all the citizens.
First, the government should withdraw the incentives that it offers the insurgents who join the program. This is because some insurgents will only join the program to receive those incentives. If the incentives are withdrawn, some of them would gladly go back to the battlefield.
Instead of dealing with the direct termination of war, the government should embark on a campaign against war. They should conduct the campaign that will change the attitudes of the people. When one solves a problem directly, that is a temporary solution. The best solution to a problem is the change of people’s attitudes. The government should teach the people that war does not resolve their grievances. Instead, it prompts the government to use harsh methods to stop the war. Therefore, part of the program should point out to the conduction of campaigns all over the country. With the permanent change of attitudes within a nation, lasting peace is assured and guaranteed. The change of attitudes helps the leadership attain success in whatever they pursue. The government should use slogans and philosophers in the campaign against war. This should be incorporated in the program. By so doing, Karzai will have left remarkable footprints in the sands of time.
The program should also address the issue of interference by foreign countries. It has been noted that foreign countries play a crucial role in the achievement of peace. Therefore, the program should include the signing of peace treaties with other countries. They should be the treaties that protect the Afghani citizens from attacks by external troops. The government should make it clear that it can handle and care about its citizens. This way, it will keep external troops away from the country. The rebels will therefore have no one to fight with and no option but to leave the battlefield. The greatest blow to a violent person is to withdraw his opponent. The rebels will thus have nothing else to do apart from leaving the battlefield and joining other citizens in building of the nation.
The program lacks an extremely significant element to its success. The insurgents have their leaders who are well educated and informed. In fact, some of the grievances that they put across are legitimate. These leaders cannot enter into the program only on the basis of promises. They need to be given something more. It is obvious that the decisions of the insurgents depend on their leaders. Therefore, the negotiations should bring in political aspects. The rebels have to see that they have been offered positions which are influential. Therefore, to reduce the hustle, the government should deal with the leaders of these insurgents.
Last but not least, the Afghan government should negotiate with worthy insurgents. This is because the government is currently negotiating with anyone who comes underway. This is not a satisfactory approach since it is going to have limited results. The program should aim at reaching the people who are famous and popular among the insurgents. This will reduce the number of people that the government has to deal with. At the same time, it will increase the number of people who enrol in the program. This is because if a popular insurgent enrols in it, many other insurgents are likely to follow suit. If all these recommendations are taken into account, the program is likely to achieve results within a considerably short span of time. This will help to bring a lasting peace to Afghanistan and an end to the massive deaths of civilians that occur there every year.
The Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program is a creative and well-motivated government program. However, many improvements have to be made to it in order to achieve greater results. This requires support from Afghan citizens as well as the insurgents in the battlefield. The government also requires cooperation from the outside world. Other countries should not pressure the government to make unsuitable decisions. Most of all, the government should make improvements in the program to ensure maximum results. This will give the country a chance to develop instead of wasting time in war.