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5,000 Afghan 'militants' have surrendered - but are they real?

Officials say the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program has brought stability to several areas. But critics say the real anti-government fighters aren't participating.   

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As part of an effort to end the Afghan war peacefully, the Afghan government developed a program to get low- and mid-level fighters to lay down their weapons and reintegrate with society.

With more than 5,000 individuals reintegrated so far, many Afghan and international officials say the program has helped bring stability to several areas.

Still, the program, which is almost two years old, may possess a fatal flaw: It’s unclear if everyone who reintegrates is actually an insurgent. Many Afghans say they worry that a number of locals are pretending to be insurgents to take advantage of the reintegration program’s incentives.

“This process has failed. It is not successful. There’s been no clear definition of who the enemy is and that’s why things are not clear,” says Mehdi, a member of parliament from Baghlan, who like many Afghans only has one name. “It’s a shame to admit that this is a problem, but unfortunately it’s a really bad thing that is happening all over Afghanistan.”

Those who reintegrate agree to renounce violence, cut ties with insurgent and terrorist groups, and support the Afghan constitution. In exchange, they receive a transitional stipend of $120 per month for three months. Communities who then agree to accept re-integrees are eligible for development grants.

The program is Afghan-run, but financially supported by international donors. In 2012 it received $123.7 million from 12 international donors, with Japan and the US shouldering the lion’s share of the cost, $52 million and $50 million respectively.

The example of 'insurgent' Wali


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