Former Fighter Opts for Peace: How UNDP Helps Start New Lives in Safer Communities

Mullah Dawood, a former fighter, handed over his gun and embraced a life of peace in Zabul province. Photo: UNDP Afghanistan / 2015


Giving up the guns

Zabul, June 2015 — “I loved my gun; it gave me dignity. But it was used for the wrong purpose, so I handed it over to be used for good,” says former Taliban fighter, 43-year-old Dawood Jan Nangyaly.

Mullah Dawood, as he is also known, was a deputy commander leading some 60 insurgents against national and international forces in Zabul Province’s Nawbahar District. But he became disillusioned with what he describes as outside interference in the running of Taliban operations inside Afghanistan. Deciding that his cause was not, as he had once thought, good for the country, he handed over his gun and embraced a life of peace.

Highlights

  • Mullah Dawood, as he is also known, was a deputy commander leading some 60 insurgents against national and international forces in Zabul Province’s Nawbahar District.
  • Dawood’s weapon was one of 85 small arms recently collected by the Zabul Provincial Police Department and handed over to the Ministry of Defence as part of a UNDP-supported peace building process.
  • Dawood was assigned for a period as commander of the local police in Nawbahar.
  • Dawood still has influence over some of his ex-comrades and is willing to help bring more of them into the peace process.

Dawood’s weapon was one of 85 small arms recently collected by the Zabul Provincial Police Department and handed over to the Ministry of Defence as part of a UNDP-supported peace building process. The weapons will now be used by the Afghan National Security Forces.

“Mullah Dawood was a prominent figure among the Taliban and his integration into the peace process is a big achievement,” says Nesar Ahmad Wafa, head of the Provincial Joint Secretariat of Zabul Province.

 

A much needed achievement

This southern province has witnessed the full horrors of insurgency. Recently, a car bomb targeted the Provincial Council building; before that, the province hit the headlines after 31 passengers were abducted on the Kabul-Kandahar Highway.

More achievements were to come. After reintegration, Dawood was assigned for a period as commander of the local police in Nawbahar. Now he was fighting against his ex-comrades, and eventually, he and his charge of 45 local police pushed the Taliban out of the district.

“I knew my area very well, so I was successful,” he explains.


Looking to the future

Dawood remembers the good days back in his village, where he used to help his father work the family’s land. But he can’t go home, because the Talbian still have a presence in his village. Instead, he has used the 1,500 dollars provided by UNDP to everyone who joins the peace process to rent a house somewhere else in Zabul.

Although he has been away from the font lines for a while, Dawood still has influence over some of his ex-comrades and is willing to help bring more of them into the peace process. If this happens, they will join about 7,800 former combatants who have already been supported by UNDP to rejoin civilian life.

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