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Afghan Program That Pays Reformed Militants Suspended Amid Concerns About Peace Talks

Afghan Program That Pays Reformed Militants Suspended Amid Concerns About Peace Talks
Afghani security personnel prepare for a mission against Taliban forces in Kunduz province on April 19. (Getty Images) 

By    |   Tuesday, 17 May 2016 10:20 PM

A program that pays reformed Islamic militants in Afghanistan to lure others from the fight has been suspended amid concerns over Taliban leaders avoiding peace talks and as parts of the country drift further into extremist ideology.

"If the government stops paying, these people will find another way to get money, and negotiations will fail," Faridoon Hanafi, a former Taliban commander in eastern Afghanistan, told The Washington Post.

Hanafi has been collecting $200 a month, living in a safe house after leaving the Taliban army in 2014. He has been working with local officials in Nangahar province to reintegrate the former militants into the law-abiding public.

Six years ago, the United States and other countries had invested about $200 million in the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program. The effort was essentially suspended two months ago amid a widespread re-evaluation of its objectives, the Post reports.

"The society and symptom is just too big, and the medicine that is provided is just too little," Ali Mohammad Ali, an Afghan security analyst and researcher, told the Post.

The program is overseen by an Afghan council set up to push for peace talks. The civil war is Afghanistan is in its 15th year.

So far, only 11,077 militants have entered into the initiative, the Post reports, and questions remain over how many are still loyal to the government.

In addition, only 9,800 weapons have come through the program, while auditors have been unable to track how some funds have been spent.

The United States has contributed $50 million for public-works projects, the Post reports.

"One important premise that underpinned the overall strategy was that peace was imminent," Douglas Keh told the Post. He is the country director for the U.N. Development Program, which oversees the effort.

"At the time, the international community had its reason to be guided by this assumption, but what was hoped for did not come about," Keh said.

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A program that pays reformed Islamic militants in Afghanistan to lure others from the fight has been suspended amid concerns over Taliban leaders avoiding peace talks and as parts of the country drift further into extremist ideology.
afghan, program, pays, reformed, militants, suspended
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2016-20-17
Tuesday, 17 May 2016 10:20 PM
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