Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Peace strategy based on flawed assumptions

The Afghan government's Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme (APRP), signed into law by President Karzai in June, is based on flawed assumptions according to a new report by the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit .
Peace at all Costs? Reintegration and Reconciliation in Afghanistan, written by Tazreena Sajjad, argues that the APRP is based on the assumption that reintegration will lead to a de-escalation of conflict and a strengthening of the rule of law. It is also based on the premise that insurgent leaders will be interested in 'reconciling' because of the incentives being offered, including amnesties and third-country resettlement.
However, say the author, reintegration and reconciliation may not be mutually reinforcing. Unless adequate support for the reintegrating combatants is provided, she says, they will fail. She adds that offers of economic opportunities and political dialogue do not address issues such as the failure of the Afghan government to deliver on its promises, the resentment felt towards foreign military forces, the involvement of external actors in funding the insurgency and other factors.
There are also differences between the Afghan government and the United States over timing; the Afghans want reintegration and reconciliation to take place simultaneously, whilst the United States wants to see disarmament, but is less willing to negotiate politically with the insurgents.
The report offers seven recommendations to those involved with the APRP, including increasing transparency, establishing stringent standards for the Afghan government to implement the APRP, recognising local realities and considering the demands of conflict victims.

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