In-depth: Crisis Prevention and Recovery

UNDP’s Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan supports initiatives to bring the police closer to the citizens. Photo: UNDP Afghanistan / LOTFA

Afghanistan has come a long way since 2001 when the country was left devastated in every respect. Democratic institutions are in place and a new generation of Afghans is striving to rebuild the country’s human and economic potentials. Sadly, an upsurge in violence is still threatening the country’s stabilization and sustainable development. UNDP provides technical assistance to some 40 government agencies on essential issues including re-integration of insurgents and strengthening of the law and order in Afghanistan.

UNDP has worked in Afghanistan over the past 50 years shaping and adapting its interventions to conflict, peace and recovery challenges. The Organization was here before 2001 and will continue to support Afghan-led development after 2014.

Law and Order

Despite considerable efforts by the Government and the international community, security has steadily deteriorated since 2004 in some parts of the country. Ongoing cross-border activities, particularly in the southern and southeastern provinces, have resulted in several areas being effectively off limits to meaningful development assistance.

A key priority for the Government of Afghanistan is building a credible police force and an effective judiciary that will foster people´s safety and trust in the Afghan institutions.

Since 2002, through the Law and Order Trust Fund (LOTFA) UNDP has supported the government to achieve this by helping to build the skills of police and legal professionals, and by strengthening the systems and infrastructure that supports them.

A key result of this effort has been the establishment of a regular and sophisticated electronic salary payment system to nearly all police and prison staff, which in turn has resulted in the Afghan police force growing from 50,000 to 145,000 and the institutions’ enhanced ability to retain professional staff.

Recruitment mechanisms have also seen more than 1,300 women joining the police force. This means that more women are likely to take their grievances to the police. Growing numbers of ordinary Afghans recognize the value of their national police.

National Reconciliation & Reintegration of Insurgents

Despite the fact that no formal and structured peace process or cessation of hostilities has been attained and insurgent activity is currently on the rise, the Government of Afghanistan is leading an effort to motivate the Taliban and other insurgent groups to renounce violence and re-integrate in their communities through a productive grants scheme.
Since 2010, though the Afghan Peace and Reintegration Program (APRP), UNDP provides the government with technical assistance to undertake these activities.

Although of extreme importance, the programme poses a number of risks to UNDP including the political associations and the risks to staff monitoring the effectiveness of the grants in difficult to reach communities where most of the demobilized insurgents return to.

To date, a total of 30 Provincial Peace Committees have been established to engage in local outreach, negotiations and disbursement of the grants. And as of May 2013, 6.840 former fighters had joined the program, and 5,700 reintegrated fighters had benefited from various transitional assistance packages to help them demobilize and return to civilian life.