After the collapse of the Taliban regime in 2001, the people of Afghanistan and the international community hoped for peace, democracy and stability. The country had been ravaged by nearly three decades of war and nearly every institution had to be rebuilt from scratch, but the Presidential and Parliamentary elections of 2004 and 2005 were watershed events offering the possibility of critical reforms in all aspects of governance, including the security sector.
The experience of these years highlighted the need to develop a comprehensive strategy to engage Afghans of all backgrounds and perspectives in dialogue. In support of this national policy, the Government developed the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme (APRP) to combine the political, security and development dimensions of peace building.
An Afghan Peace and Reintegration Policy was presented by the Government at the London Conference in January 2010. At this conference, the international community welcomed the Government’s commitment to reinvigorating Afghan-led peace and reintegration efforts and committed to establish a Peace and Reintegration Trust Fund to finance the APRP.
A National Consultative Peace Jirga, attended by 1,600 delegates, was held in Kabul in June 2010 to discuss the establishment of the APRP framework for national peace. The Jirga’s resolution gave a strong mandate to President Karzai to pursue peace and he issued a decree on 29 June 2010 that detailed the APRP structure and directed its implementation.
Following the elections in 2014, there was a peaceful political transition to the National Unity Government under the leadership of President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah. The new Government decided to focus its peace program on high-level reconciliation and negotiation with the vision to achieve a just and durable peace by reaching a political solution to the conflict, promoting dialogue and taking measures to reintegrate armed opposition groups back into society.
APRP was the vehicle to support and facilitate the negotiation process and consolidated its achievements through efforts at two levels: (a) pursuing dialogue at the political level to reach a peace settlement with the Taliban and other insurgent groups, including initiatives to create conditions for direct peace negotiations and promote national, regional and international support for the Afghan-led peace process, and (b) continuing as the Government’s most viable institution for facilitating the reintegration of armed groups.
UNDP supported the High Peace Council (HPC), the Joint Secretariat to the HPC, the Financial Oversight Committee Secretariat of APRP and the Provincial Peace Councils and Provincial Joint Secretariat Teams in 33 provinces.
UNDP advised the APRP leadership on peace building, reconciliation and reintegration, and assisted the Joint Secretariat in the areas of policy, planning, capacity development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation and the management of the Peace and Reintegration Trust Fund.
As part of the trust fund management, UNDP ensured that donor funds were used in the most efficient and effective manner and in accordance with the guidance and endorsements of the Financial Oversight Committee.
UNDP also worked with Provincial Joint Secretariat Teams to support Provincial Peace Committees to reach out to insurgents and encourage their reintegration through disarmament activities, the provision of transitional financial assistance and livelihood skills building.
What we have accomplished so far?
- APRP became a National Priority Program with a robust structure and implementation capacity.
- The HPC established important contacts with the leadership of the insurgency. Members, including women, participated in a number of informal talks with Taliban representatives leading up to the first formal talks in July 2015. These efforts increased public awareness and support for the peace process and widened understanding of how the insurgency operates, how it is supported and how to reach out to it.
- Through regional and international events and forums, the HPC tried to convince countries in the region that instability in Afghanistan posed a serious threat to the stability of the region. This resulted in increased regional support and opportunities for initiating dialogue.
- Provincial Peace Committees were established to conduct local outreach, negotiation and reintegration in 33 provinces, forming a nationwide structure for peace activities at the local level.
- 11,074 former combatants renounced violence and joined the peace and reintegration program. Of these, 10,955 received financial assistance to reintegrate into their communities.
- 9,380 weapons were collected from the former combatants; all weapons were registered and managed by Ministry of Defense;
- 151 small grant projects were implemented (consisting mostly of small community infrastructure projects) directly benefiting 2,635 reintegrees and indirectly benefiting approximately 191,999 community members. These provided temporary employment to former combatants during reintegration.
- • The Community Recovery projects through Line Ministries’ financial and programmatic support provided 4,355 reintegrees and 91,164 community members with direct benefits such as access to improved services, work or livelihood opportunities and vocational training opportunities. In addition, approximately 1,395,790 community members benefited from the 2,724 projects indirectly.
- Provincial Peace Committees conducted 1,476 outreach activities in support of peace and reintegration, and 539 activities to promote women’s participation in the peace process.
- Over 250,000 Afghan women signed the petition for the “Women Call for Ceasefire and Peace” campaign, calling for the armed insurgency to participate in peace talks and negotiations, which was presented to both Afghan Government leadership and to the UN leadership in New York.
- Afghanistan National Action Plan for the implementation of UNSCR 1325 was developed and endorsed.