A recent report to the US Congress underscores the importance of reintegrating Afghan fighters into Afghan society, evaluating economic and security aspects. The Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction issued the report to identify factors that would be critical for introducing and sustaining stability in Afghanistan as peace talks have resumed with a successful meeting on March 12. It is important that Pakistan remain cognisant of the points mentioned in the report; peace and stability in Afghanistan have vast implications for security in Pakistan and the entire region.
With a US envoy en route to Pakistan and Afghanistan to continue peace talks, the situation is sensitive. Stability is a significant factor for making progress beyond talks. While the US envoy completes its route, the report’s highlighted points will serve to provide a framework upon which to build the security of the country. Even though there is hesitation planning the integration of Taliban fighters into society, if done in a systematic way with appropriate resources at hand and proper considerations made as to their rehabilitation, the step will bring positive change. One of the overarching themes is to have fighters mentally primed for reintegration into normal society. Steering fighters away from lives of crime and violence is an area that needs planning. For this, financial assistance is necessary; beyond crime, Afghanistan is in a significantly more precarious situation having been the setting of a decades-old war.
As we anxiously wait to see what decisions are made at the Doha talks, civil policing as a third risk factor in hampering talks needs to be established. Other avenues for peace have been explored and have not worked. Afghanistan continues to be the site of turmoil with citizens victimised daily. In everyone’s interest, utmost care should be taken to enforce risk factors outlined in the report so as to facilitate advancement and ensure security.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2019.
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