For thirty years, the Afghan People have suffered and sacrificed to achieve peace. We Afghans desire not only short-term security, but a consolidated and sustainable peace. We must explore the sources of our differences . . . . We must find ways to bring those who are disenfranchised back into the fabric of our society, economy and polity. We recognize many have suffered – and like all Afghans – seek justice, prosperity, and security.
National Consultative Peace Jirga
Kabul, June 2010
The Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program (APRP) provides for both reintegration, where fighters leave the fight and peacefully rejoin their communities, and reconciliation, where entire insurgent groups reach a settlement with Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) leading to an end to hostilities.
Reintegration is the focus of this guide, which includes information on the APRP, its place in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Counter Insurgency (COIN) Campaign, and ISAF’s role in supporting it. This guide provides the information that ISAF members – at all levels – need in order to work with communities, community leaders, and GIRoA and Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) partners in support of the program. APRP is an Afghan Program, and ISAF’s role is to assist GIRoA in fully implementing it.
President Karzai stated his commitment to peace in his November 2009 Inauguration Speech. He reiterated this at the January 2010 London Conference, where he stated that Afghans need to, “reach out to all of our countrymen, especially our disenchanted brothers.”
At the National Consultative Peace Jirga (NCPJ) held in Kabul in June 2010 – attended by 1600 delegates – a main topic was establishing a framework for national peace. With representation from all elements of Afghan society, the Jirga gave its support to President Karzai, and provided him with a strong mandate to pursue peace.
The APRP was developed in response to the NCPJ resolution and designed utilizing previously successful peace programs as a guide. President Karzai issued a decree on June 29, 2010, that detailed the APRP structure and directed its implementation. Representatives of the international community endorsed the APRP at the July 2010 Kabul Conference. The Afghan Government then issued a "Joint Order" on September 6, 2010, that gave detailed instructions to ministries and provincial governors on how to implement the APRP.
The High Peace Council (HPC) was established in October 2010. This body is responsible for providing advice to the President, and for guiding, overseeing, and ensuring APRP implementation. Since then there has been significant progress. The first reintegree joined the program in October 2010 and the first annual budget for the HPC was approved in January 2011. The wider budget, covering some $94 million, was approved by the Financial Oversight Committee in June 2011 and in September 2011 the first APRP funded Line Ministry Community Recovery project was started in Badghis by the Ministry for Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and the Disabled – a vocational training programme in 23 centres for a total of 400 reintegrees and community members.
On 20 September 2011 the former Afghan President and HPC chair Professor Rabbani was assassinated by a suicide bomber, who had claimed to be an envoy from the Taliban. The attack also injured Minister Stanekzai, the Chief Executive Officer of the Joint Secretariat, and another member of the HPC. Professor Rabbani had been playing a key role in promoting Peace in Afghanistan and was meeting with religious and influential leaders around the world. A week before his death, Professor Rabbani had addressed a gathering in Kandahar and told them that the "Afghan people have a great thirst for peace." Following this tragic attack, the Afghan people and government discussed their commitment to the peace process, in general, and APRP specifically. In November 2011 the Traditional Loya Jirga, reaffirmed the findings of the NCPJ and the APRP, recommending that more was to be done to deliver in the provinces.
Prospects for Peace:
Over their long and proud history, Afghan civil society has developed effective means to settle disputes among the people in order to maintain peace. Afghan rural civil society, where more than 70 percent of the population lives and works, continues this heritage, resolving disputes that undermine security, stability, governance, and development. APRP aims to utilize and strengthen these mechanisms to resolve the grievances which drive conflict.
The prospects for peace during an insurgency improve when the fighters realize that they cannot defeat the government through force and only see a future of endless violence and combat. This sentiment is increasingly evident in Afghanistan and improves the likelihood of widespread reintegration of combatants.
APRP Organizational Structure:
The President of Afghanistan is responsible for the APRP. The High Peace Council advises the President on policy, directs the Joint Secretariat to implement the program, and provides support through its sub-committees. The Joint Secretariat is responsible for executing all elements of the APRP. It also provides program support at the sub-national level.
In provinces, governors are responsible for implementation. They are assisted by a Provincial Peace Committee (PPC), which has wide representation. A Provincial Joint Secretariat Team (PJST) provides support to the governor and the PPC, and provides the technical and administrative support to help manage reintegration activity in the province. These provincial structures link to and leverage rural civil society through district and community structures like the Afghan Social Outreach Program/District Community Councils, District Development Assemblies, Community Development Committees and other informal local structures which exist throughout most of Afghanistan. Linking provincial peace efforts to rural civil society, directly or through district and community structures, or through Afghan NGOs, is essential for APRP success.
This statement highlighted that it is only through holistic, relentless pressure that the three options of be killed, be captured or reintegrate, would yield the required outcomes for success.
ISAF Main effort in support of the APRP:
To weaken the insurgency, reduce violence and improve security by supporting and building a self sustaining, effective GIRoA implementation of the APRP, at all levels of governance, in order to enable reintegration to take place on the greatest scale possible and undermine the resilience and capability of the insurgency.
Assist in the establishment of an effective, self sustaining and robust GIRoA program that is enabled by structures at the national and sub-national levels that delivers reintegration efficiently and effectively.
Educate and persuade target audiences to engage in and support the APRP and create conditions for grievance identification and resolution.
Assist GIRoA, if required, in the demobilization of insurgents.
Sustain reintegration through supporting GIRoA community recovery efforts.
Sustain Afghan and International Community political will at all levels to ensure lasting commitment to reintegration.
End state of the APRP: An enduring and fully enabled GIRoA program that operates without ISAF assistance and continues to draw insurgents out of the fight permanently, thereby improving security and development, and acting as an accelerant to conflict resolution.
Only Afghans are eligible for the APRP. The program is anchored in the reality that most Afghan insurgents are fighting in or near their communities, and only a minority is ideologically motivated. Most insurgents fight because of grievances, and these are typically of local origin. The APRP seeks to enable sustainable support to local agreements where communities, supported by GIRoA, reach out to insurgents in order to address their grievances, encourage them to stop fighting, and rejoin their communities with dignity and honour.
Grievance resolution and alternatives to fighting that protect dignity and honour are key to the process, but reintegration also needs community security. An insurgent will consider coming forward only if he is confident that he will survive the process, and his reasons for doing so will vary. Many insurgents will be tired of fighting and worry about the threat of being targeted. Others may decide that fighting is no longer the way to achieve their goals. Reintegration depends on trust and confidence among Afghans and establishing this will often require civil society participation and long periods of dialogue.
Reintegration is an essential part of the COIN Campaign, not an alternative to it. Reintegration removes fighters from the battlefield. ISAF’s role is to team with Afghans, at every level, and coordinate security operations with the local political peace processes. We must help Afghans communicate the program and its opportunities to the Afghan people, and support them in implementing it.
APRP − How it Works:
The APRP seeks to bring former fighters back to their communities, so they can live peaceful, healthy, and productive lives. Reintegration is enabled by local agreements, where communities (supported by the Government) reach out to insurgents, work to resolve grievances, and encourage them to stop fighting and rejoin their communities peacefully and permanently. The APRP brings lasting reintegration through three stages. Grievance is critical for long term conflict resolution and spans all three stages.
Social Outreach, Confidence Building and Negotiation: Under the political authority of the HPC the APRP seeks to enable local initiatives to initiate reintegration. The PPC utilizing a combination of government and civil society leaders, representing the community, district, tribe, or province, reach out to insurgents to address their grievances, encourage them to stop fighting, and rejoin their communities with dignity and honour. Reintegration involves overcoming distrust, scepticism, and uncertainty on all sides. For some, concerns about security, immediate livelihood, and grievances will need to be addressed before insurgents formally reintegrate. This is an Afghan process. Afghans can only reintegrate with Afghans, and the dialogue must be among Afghans. It will take time and many discussions. Although ISAF does not directly participate in the discussions, it can facilitate by providing financial, logistical and moral support, as well as other available resources; however, it will not provide assistance to individuals. ISAF influence operations can play an effective role in supporting Afghan outreach and should be coordinated with PPC efforts. GIRoA and ISAF have a process for targeting restrictions for fighters involved in APRP dialogue.
Grievance Mapping and Resolution:
PPCs will conduct grievance mapping and prioritization exercises, which involve interviewing a wide variety of civil society and government personnel to determine which disputes drive violence in a province. When prioritized for resolution, this list of grievances will then drive person-to-person outreach with people who can resolve the grievances. Plans for resolving the grievances must be coordinated with ANSF and ISAF so that security operations are coordinated with the political peace process. Synchronization of APRP with security operations allows PPCs to approach potential reintegrees, coordinate security and political efforts to marginalize blockers, and help security forces to identify irreconcilables who must be managed. Grievance mapping begins during the outreach phase and grievance resolution efforts span all three stages of APRP.
Demobilization: Vetting of the potential reintegree is the first step in the demobilization process. Each reintegree is vetted by all arms of the ANSF in consultation with civil society and their communities. If they meet APRP eligibility criteria, the ex-combatant enters the demobilization phase and is enrolled in the reintegration program. Formal enrolment includes an intent-to-reintegrate form, individual survey completed by the reintegree with assistance from the PJST, biometrics collection, small arms registration, and heavy weapons turn-in. The reintegration candidates are then provided basic Transition Assistance (Approx. $120 for three months) by the PJST to aid in meeting the basic needs for the reintegree and their family, which helps replace financial support that may have been provided by the insurgency. Provinces and the affected communities’ leadership should consider the security needs of reintegrees during this phase, including whether there is a need for short term relocation to safe houses. The Transition Assistance lasts for approximately 90 days, during which time the goal is to enrol the reintegration candidates in Disengagement Training. Disengagement Training has been developed to counter common misperceptions among ex-combatants and increase their chances of becoming healthy, productive members of their communities. The training will include modules on civics, dispute resolution, social responsibility, and religion. Upon successful completion of Disengagement Training, the candidate and the government sign a Declaration of Reintegration and the ex-combatant is considered to be formally reintegrated. Political amnesty is provided for insurgent offenses, but criminal offenses may be subject to later prosecution. The Disengagement Training curriculum is anticipated to be introduced in the second half of 2012. With robust partnership from ISAF, it is the responsibility of the ANSF, the Provincial Security Committee and the Provincial Governor to assess, plan and execute provision for community security in reintegration districts and provinces. Community recovery activities also need to be ready by the end of demobilization to consolidate reintegration and continued civil society support.
Consolidation of Peace and Community Recovery: Community Recovery represents the third phase of the APRP. It is designed to consolidate peace by demonstrating peace dividends to reintegree communities. Community recovery is not a substitute for credible grievance resolution in consolidating peace but a supporting factor. Therefore, it is important that it is appropriately connected to phase one. Activities are designed to benefit the entire community, not just reintegrees, in order to avoid creating perverse incentives. Such activities may include agricultural extension services, rehabilitating and maintaining agricultural and transport infrastructure, community based development activities and vocational and literacy education. Ultimately, these activities must link to long term GIRoA development programs. This phase will require extensive collaboration and discussion among civil society leaders, their communities, the PJST and PPC, the Joint Secretariat and district and provincial government development bodies. Expectations about the particular recovery package delivered to each community will have to be managed. Communities will need to understand that what they will receive will not be identical to other communities. Decisions on this will be based on objective assessments of the community and its priority needs, and the realities of what can be delivered. Community recovery will be delivered through a combination of Afghan Ministry programs, the APRP small grants process and local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Consideration should also be given to using existing donor and GIRoA development programs to support reintegration. The focus for community recovery during 2012 will be increasing the number of reintegrees, plugging geographic gaps in coverage (particularly in the south and east) and clearly linking community recovery activities to the APRP. Small Grants: In August 2011 the Joint Secretariat rolled out a system for short term small grants for reintegree communities. Tier 1 grants are small scale grants that must be initiated by a reintegree community, usually through a Community Development Council (CDC). Communities can apply for as many grants as they need up to a total of $50,000 as long as no one grant exceeds $25,000. Tier 2 grants (up to $200,000) are available for a broader range of applicants including NGOs and District Development Assemblies. The PJST development officer will be responsible for managing this process. Decision making on small grants is the responsibility of the Small Grants Committee at the Provincial level, which will be chaired by the head of the Provincial Development Committee. As PJSTs and Regional Program Coordinators (RPCs) build their monitoring and administrative capacity oversight by the JS at the Kabul level will slowly reduced. APRP (UNDP) regional offices will play an important role in supporting this process through provincial technical assessments.
Ministry Programs: In 2011-12 the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAIL), Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSAMD), Ministry of Rehabilitation and Rural Development (MRRD) and Ministry of Public Works (MOPW) were provided with a total of $31 million to support the implementation of their annual reintegration plans. MOLSAMD has been allocated funds to extend vocational training. MOPW has been allocated funds to employ reintegration communities in road maintenance. has been allocated funds for reintegration communities to roll out agriculture conservation and reforestation projects, fruit production and processing projects, and irrigation rehabilitation projects. MRRD has been allocated funds for reintegration communities to implement the National Area Based Development Program (district-managed labour intensive infrastructure), the National Rural Access Program (construction and maintenance of tertiary roads), and the National Solidarity Program (village level infrastructure). Not all ministries will roll out in every province. ISAF and Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) can obtain detailed information on ministry roll out plans from the Force Reintegration Cell (F-RIC). Leveraging Ministries: The Afghan Government has obligated all of its ministries to support the APRP regardless if they are receiving APRP funds. Governors and PPCs should seek to leverage existing programs being delivered by all ministries in their provinces to extend their activities to reintegrees. Provinces can seek support from the JS to leverage the relevant ministry in Kabul as well as at the provincial level. Civil Society: The JS has allocated a budget of $5 million for new emerging programs, including civil society. This can facilitate the participation of NGOs and community groups in the delivery of reintegration activities including community recovery, outreach, and grievance and conflict resolution. International Development Agencies and PRTs: Donor nations may seek to utilize their existing programs to support reintegrees and their communities. It is important that donor activities are not targeted at reintegrees alone and instead focus on reintegree communities. PRT Support: Support from the PRT will be essential to the success of community recovery throughout 2012. Under the Small Grants SOP, PRTs sit on the Provincial Grants Committee. Mentoring of development officers on procedures and reporting, and connecting development stakeholders (including ministries) to the PJST are critical tasks. Mobilising aid agencies within the PRT is essential to this support work. The SCR in October 2011 and US Embassy in 2012 issued guidance to staff on supporting the reintegration effort. Reintegration Funding: Funding is available from two dedicated sources, as well as other complementary resources. The largest source of funds for the APRP is the internationally financed APRP Reintegration Finance Mechanism, a joint effort between GIRoA, UNDP and donor countries. Supplementing APRP funding is the U.S. funded Afghanistan Reintegration Program (ARP), which is designed to be used for gap filling, fast implementation and capacity building. The APRP Reintegration Trust Fund Finance Mechanism disburses funds to the Joint Secretariat (JS) through either UNDP or a Blind Trust. The JS then distributes these funds at the provincial level to the Provincial Joint Secretariat Teams (PJST), which have four different accounts to manage: Operational Expenditure account for PJST and PPC salaries office rent, utilities, and outreach expenses. Float and Outreach account: $10K rapid reaction accounts for governors to use on outreach, grievance resolution, and other immediate reintegration needs. Transition Assistance account: Once ex-combatants are formally enrolled into the program they are eligible to receive $120 per month for a total of 3 months. Small Grants account: Funding for projects developed by the communities or districts that accept reintegrees from the APRP program.
On the national level, the APRP Reintegration Finance Mechanism disburses funds through the Ministry of Finance, UNDP for Ministry programs and APRP Cells for community recovery programs delivered by MRRD, MAIL, MOLSAMD and MOPW, which also have APRP Cells in other ministries such as MoI, MoD and NDS.
The JS also funds programs at the national level such as:
Commander relocation: In dialogue with Governors, PPCs and the JS, the HPC can authorize support for the relocation of mid to high level commanders and their families.
Ulema Mobilization: Funding for religious leaders to conduct outreach, confidence building, negotiation and religious education at the local level.
Disengagement Training (DT): A national contract to deliver DT at the local level.
Supplementing the APRP is the US Department of Defense Afghanistan Reintegration Program (ARP). Its use broadly mirrors the APRP, and must follow the USFOR-A ARP “Money as a Weapons System (MAAWS)-A” Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). The SOP specifies the type of projects authorized, the application procedure and funding process. Non-US units may access these funds through authorized US personnel responsible for their region. ARP funding is designed to be a stop-gap until the APRP Reintegration Finance Mechanism is fully mature. ARP is not to be used for permanent sustainment costs or other items that should be funded through the APRP Reintegration Finance Mechanism. From the outset, it is essential to coordinate the use of stop-gap ARP funding with GIRoA so that permanent APRP funding for project sustainment can be secured.
NDAA ARP Authorized Activities:
Deradicalization activities such as education and vocational training.
Public infrastructure and agriculture works projects.
Conflict resolution costs (such as mediator expenses).
Costs for non-lethal equipment to enhance community security.
Relocation, settlement and temporary living expenses for reintegrees.
District and community level reintegration offices and administration.
Monitoring weapon registration and disposal.
Reintegration costs associated with released detainees.
Activities not Authorized by NDAA ARP:
Payments to combatants to get them to stop fighting.
Weapon buy-back schemes or the purchase of weapons/ammo.
Payments to ANSF or other protection/security forces.
Entertainment (except for approved reintegration-related events).
Salaries for military or civilian government personnel.
Psyops and info ops not associated with reintegration.
Support to individuals (unless they are participating in a reintegration program and they are a registered reintegration candidate).
Support to private businesses for the sole benefit of the business.
In addition to the APRP Reintegration Finance Mechanism and the ARP, the APRP is designed to coordinate and leverage other existing sources of funding to support reintegration. GIRoA ministries have ongoing development programs which can expand into reintegration areas. National funding sources will be available to some troops and PRTs. International development agencies (USAID, DFID, AUSAID, etc.) and NGOs also have development programs which can support reintegration. Provinces can partner with the private sector to train and employ reintegrees. All of these activities should be coordinated by provincial authorities.
Informal reintegration occurs when an insurgent stops fighting and returns home without involvement in APRP. The informal returnee gets no protection from targeting, will have no support in addressing his grievances, and will not receive any assistance or training. His community will not be able to benefit from the APRP's community recovery opportunities. For these reasons, rural civil society leaders should be encouraged to support a formal APRP process for their reintegrating insurgents.
Afghan Local Police (ALP):
The APRP and ALP are separate programs. Reintegrated former fighters may in some cases join the ALP; but to do so, former fighters must pass through the same Interior Ministry screening procedure as any other ALP candidate. There is no guaranteed place in the ALP for ex-fighters.
Make sure that Afghans lead on all reintegration activity – but partner closely and help them achieve their vision.
Be energetic in engaging your Afghan partners in the ANSF, district and provincial government, and community leadership regarding the APRP. Help them plan and, if necessary, resource their plans.
Support Afghan reintegration by assisting with communication and coordination amongst our Afghan partners
Engage PPCs/PJSTs to understand their outreach and grievance resolution initiatives, and synchronize security operations with the political peace process.
Report all reintegration activity or opportunities and any abuse of the reintegration process up your chain of command.
Seek advice and guidance from your chain of command if you are uncertain how to proceed.
Preserve the honour and dignity of the reintegrating insurgent.
Identify reintegration opportunities and respond utilizing GIRoA.
Ask your chain of command for guidance on issues of criminal activity and arrests and amnesty and report all GIRoA arrests of reintegrees.
Report all cases of corruption of the reintegration process to chain of command.
Offer amnesty or immunity from GIRoA prosecution.
Ever refer to reintegration as an act of “surrender,” or, “lying down of arms.”
Tell a reintegree whether he is on a targeting list.
Offer money or development aid directly to insurgents to stop fighting.
Support or be party to any agreement that cedes political authority or territorial control to insurgents.
Compromise on human rights.
Ignore suspected abuse or corruption in the reintegration process.
References and Websites: