"The success of the reintegration programme will stand or fall on the speed with which the commitments made during the reintegration process are met."
Demobilisation process: During this three-month period, there will be a process of “verification, vetting, biometrics, weapon management and immediate care and support, and security assistance".
Civil society groups will be requested to support grievance resolution. "A range of reintegration packages and approaches" will be on offer, based on the "different ranks of ex-combatants".
“Amnesty will be granted to ex-combatant commanders, and foot soldiers, vetted by security institutions and communities, where local grievances can be resolved, and where ex-combatants will live in accordance with the laws and Constitution of Afghanistan, renounce violence, and have no current or future ties to al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups."
"Amnesty will allow for ex-combatants to peacefully assimilate into their communities without the fear of prosecution for their political actions (although individuals will retain the right under the Constitution to pursue criminal cases.)"
"Ex-combatants will be placed on a restricted list and will lose their amnesty if they return to fighting. Ex-combatants will receive a reintegration identity card, with their biometric data."
There is a commitment to set up a process to remove those who join the peace process from the UN blacklist, which imposes financial and travel restrictions on mid- and senior-level members of the Taliban and its allies.
Reintegration and consolidation: This will consist of “community-led reintegration, vocation sessions and deradicalization sessions,” as well as the ex-combatants starting work or training - in either the Afghan security forces, or the two new reconstruction corps.
Two levels of the programme
There will be two levels on which the APRP will operate:
Tactical and operational. The focus will be on the foot soldiers, small groups, and on local leaders
Strategic and political. This will focus on leadership of insurgency. “This is a highly sensitive issue that needs a broad approach." Options may include "addressing the problem of sanctuaries, measures for outreach and removal from sanction list, ensuring the severance of links with al-Qaeda, securing political accommodation and potential exile to a third country".
Organisational structure of the programme
High level peace council. The program will be overseen by a high council “of distinguished Afghans to provide strategic direction."
CEO. The program will be executed by a joint secretariat, headed by a CEO, of ministerial rank. The UN and ISAF (the Nato-led force in Afghanistan) will support and coordinate with the programme, through the joint secretariat.
There are also detailed proposals for the legal framework, financial management, and public information aspects of the program.
Rollout of the programme
It will not be rolled out in all provinces and districts at once. The CEO will decide the timetable. However, the document says the initial focus will be on Kandahar and Helmand, Herat and Badghis, Nangarhar, and Kunduz and Baghlan.
The accelerated release of money from the international trust fund is probably sensible, but in Afghanistan, it is almost certain to mean that some of the money disappears. Corruption exists throughout the system of governance in this country.
The phrase “weapons management” has been carefully chosen. The word “disarmament” is not used at any point in the document. Nearly all Afghan men possess weapons. In Pashtun areas, it is an issue of culture and pride. It is clear they intend to let fighters keep all or some of their weapons, although they will almost certainly have to be registered.
Who defines whether past actions are political or criminal ones?
The UN blacklist, the so-called 1267 committee, was set up by UN Security Council resolution 1267 in the aftermath of the attacks on September 11th 2001. Nearly all the leadership of the Taliban and its allies, past and present, are on the list. In the Stanikzai plan, there is a commitment to set up a process to remove names from the list. How far would the Obama administration and American public opinion allow this process to go? Would Mullar Omar’s name ever be removed?
The talk of exile in a third country is not new. Most recently, the discussion has been about the group Hisb-i-Islami, a “semi-detached” ally of the Taliban, and its leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, with the suggestion that he could be found a new home in Saudi Arabia.
The roll out schedule is interesting. Helmand and Kandahar are at the top of the list - these two provinces are where US and Nato commander General Stanley McChrystal has put most of his new military assets. Herat has long been seen as one of the most prosperous areas of Afghanistan, but violence has been spreading there in the last eighteen months, and its neighbouring province Badghis is a place where Taliban activity has been increasing. Nangarhar, and its provincial capital the city of Jalalabad, are seen as the key to controlling the east of the country. Kunduz and Baghlan are the two provinces in the North, where the security has deteriorated a great deal in the last couple of years.
The selection of CEO of the APRP will be crucial. At present reconciliation efforts are led by Sibghatollah Mojaddidi, widely seen as a venerable elder statesman, who is also a close political ally of President Karzai. In 1980’s, when Mojaddidi headed one of the Mujahiddin political parties fighting the Soviet Union, his spokesman was Hamid Karzai. However Mojaddidi, who for a very brief period served as Afghanistan’s President, is an elderly man, who many consider to be lacking the drive and organisational skills to lead this new effort.
Taliban prisoners are not mentioned in the plan at all. Some Jirga members have told Al Jazeera that the release of prisoners should be offered as an nearly step in any peace process.