Peace is one of the priorities of the Afghan government and is led and owned by Afghans. The overall goal of the peace process is to encourage armed opposition groups to renounce violence and bloodshed, to peacefully live within the Afghan laws and to take an active part in the reconstruction and rebuilding of the country. The peace process provides opportunities for all armed opposition groups to reintegrate in their societies and pursue their goals through political means.
As a credible and effective entity with 70 members, the High Peace council (HPC) leads all peace and reconciliation efforts. The council is composed of influential political figures which represent religious scholars (Ulema), Jihadi leaders, and leaders of the political parties, tribal elders, civil society representatives and elite women. The Council is mandated by the Consultative peace Jirga and endorsed by Traditional Loya Jirga. As a national body, this council has led peace process with the armed opposition groups since 2010 and has given political and strategic direction to the peace efforts.
At various levels, the Afghan government and the HPC made tremendous efforts to bring the Taliban and other armed groups to the negotiation table and these efforts are still going on. The Government strategy for peace has three pillars: a) Strengthening security and civilian institutions to promote peace and reintegration, b) Facilitating political conditions for, and support to, the Afghan people to establish an enduring and just peace, c) Enhancing national, regional and international support and consensus to foster peace and stability and to reach a unified position on the fact that peace in Afghanistan is peace in the region and the world.
Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program (APRP) as a national priority program implements all decisions made by the HPC. The program’s aim is therefore facilitating the peace process and preparing ground for the reintegration of those armed opposition groups and their low-to-mid level fighters who are willing to renounce violence, contribute in ensuring peace and stability, and live peacefully like all other Afghans in their communities. Through providing opportunities for demobilization, weapons collection and management, distributing transitional assistances and implementing small-scale community recovery programs throughout the country, APRP plays an important role in consolidating the peace process. It is worth mentioning that at the central level a Joint Secretariat (JS) has been established to implement specific programs. JS carries out its activities under the leadership of the HPC.
Moreover, as peace is a cross-cutting and inclusive issue, various ministries and agencies such as Ministry of Defense (MoD), Ministry of Interior (MoI), National Directorate of Security (NDS) and other development ministries along with their provincial departments closely work with the program as partners.
For the success of the APRP, it should be managed with great transparency and clarity. The Consultative peace Jirga recommended that the government with the public support should ensure merit-based recruitment at all levels and should take proper measures to fight against moral and administrative corruption as well as usurpation of properties.
Provincial Peace Committees (PPCs) are established in 33 provinces of Afghanistan to carry out all peace-related activities at local levels. The Peace process in the provinces is led by governors. Ulema, Tribal elders, representatives of the Civil Society, influential figures and women have the membership of PPCs. Each member of a PPC represents a district of the relevant province. As in the center, PPCs are also supported by a small technical team called Provincial Joint Secretariat Team (PJST). Each PJST has four members and one head and is responsible for executing the decisions of the JS as well as relevant PPC. These provincial structures too play an important role in bringing about Peace and Stability.