Post Conflict Reforms (PCR) is a generic term used to describe the myriad of individual security sector reform programs that have arisen or are still operating in Country as a result of conflict. Collectively, the detail and subtleties of each program have to be understood by those involved to ensure that the root causes that created the conflict are actually addressed.
Failure to correctly address the issues allows them to continue to smoulder and have the potential to flare up at a later date. This then delays reform and ultimately prevents the required private sector investment required to enable the Country to support itself. It is essential that the subtleties of each PCR program are understood by those involved to ensure that the lessons learnt and mistakes of the past are correctly applied to speed up reform.
The Challenge - After almost 25 years of conflict, the conditions must be created that enable a lost generation to want to respect the rule of law, help themselves to identify the means to earn a lawful income living and embrace the importance of education, ensuring that their next generation has the ability to make informed choices. Key to enabling this is the need to provide a stable environment to work in that provides hope and is no longer scarred by the remnants of war.
Meeting the Challenge – The Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration program (DDR) is one of the five Security Sector Reform pillars that originated from the post Bonn Conferences. Japan, United States, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom respectively agreed to individually take the lead in implementing five key programs - to reintegrate the Afghan Military Forces, create the Afghan National Army, modernize the Afghan National Police, reform the judicial system and address the issue of counter narcotics. PCR, often lazily or naively referred to simply as DDR, is a complex topic that has evolved into several distinct, but interrelated, programs - the origins of which can be traced back to the Bonn Agreement in 2001.
The distinct programs comprise:
Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR)
The $142m, 2½ year, Japanese led, UN administered program, tokenly disarmed 63,380 officers and soldiers from the Afghan Military Forces who voluntarily agreed to participate, in return for receiving personal reintegration options. Each individual entering the program full of hope and optimism was provided with a 6 – 12 month funded reintegration training package. The DDR program officially concluded in June 06 but several thousand AMF officers had still not received their reintegration at that time and the patriarchal command and control structures, that existed between the Commanders and their men, remain in place. The sustainability of the design, training commanders, officers and men, with no clear linkages to actual long term viable employment opportunities and the lack of on going or targeted assistance for a vulnerable and potentially influential group in society, is now in question.
Afghan National Police
Reform of a national police force that is perceived to be ineffective, corrupt, lacking capacity and does not have the public’s confidence is a difficult task. Reforms are, after a slow start, in place to retrain, equip and recruit qualified personnel. Initially, a German led program, the program is now supported by the US STATE dept who in partnership with the Germans are implementing the reforms. Attempts to make transparent appointments continue to be undermined by questionable political appointments. Furthermore, the funding constraints and lack of the wisdom of deciding not to retrain and economically reintegrate up to 5,686 redundant senior police officers remains unanswered. The opportunity to apply the recent lessons learnt from DDR program have sadly been over looked.
Afghan National Army
The ANA is a professional, trained, ethnically representative, disciplined army that is being built up to replace the regional militias that collectively combined to fight as one against the Taliban. Those Militia that agreed to be loyal to the interim administration, and in particular the Minister of Defence, Fahim Khan, were subsequently called the AMF and funded by the interim admission. However their loyalty and abilities varied from unit to unit. The original timescale to recruit, train, equip and fund 70,000 ANA to create a modern army loyal to the Government has proved to be ambitious. The original timescale has now been put back three years to 2010 but those ANA that are deployed are on the frontline and taking casualties.
Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups (DIAG)
DIAG, often referred to as the follow on program to DDR, is a separate distinct GoA led program that has been relaunched several times since the first discussions started in January 2005. It was originally conceived to address an estimated 125,000 personnel that were perceived to pose a significant threat to the success of the Parliamentary elections, held in the autumn of 2005. The program was not rolled out in time and the individuals remain and continue to create instability through their links to Illegal Armed Groups, Linked Government Officials and some elected provincial and national elected representatives.
The IAG personnel, comprising those Militia, that would not pledge their allegiance to the interim government in 2001, together with bandits and organized / narco criminals, continue to operate outside the rule of law throughout the country with impunity and undermine the Government’s reconstruction efforts. Left unchecked the IAG’s collectively pose a threat to the future authority of the Government. The DIAG program however, has not progressed well and any claimed successes are usually superficial. The program has always suffered from a lack of credibility and political buy in by the Government together with some member of the international community. The principle however, is welcomed by the general public but the practicalities and inability to enforce the program due to historical allegiances, mistrust, corruption and the government’s lack of ability to use its developing security forces to enforce the program suggest that a major rethink is required before we will make progress on the issue – and prevent the IAG’s from growing stronger.
Heavy Weapons Cantonment
The program removed over 12,000 serviceable or repairable heavy weapons from within the communities and placed them in regional cantonment sites. Until then, the commanders, that had individually owned those weapons and retained them, posed a potential threat to security. Today, the weapons are all in secure regional storage sites, providing visible reassurance to the public that still remembers the fear and destruction imposed by such weapons.
Anti Personnel Mines and Ammunition Stockpile Destruction Program (APMASD)
Over 100,000 tones of discarded and or unstable ammunition and anti personnel mines are estimated to exist through out the Country. A UN led program has been coordinating up to eight teams to survey, dispose and or relocate the ammunition to safe storage areas and place them under the control of the GoA. The Canadian initiated, externally funded, UN program is co-ordinating contractors in the field in conjunction with building capacity within the ANA to be able to survey, dispose and or relocate ammunition to safe storage areas. The US State dept’s Explosive Remnants of War dept is a significant, in kind, donor to the program.
Afghan Security Forces
A new issue has recently begun to emerge with the withdrawal of Coalition Forces who no longer required the services of the personnel and militias that they had hired to assist them on the ground. No thought was given or funding set aside by the military to reintegrate these forces that are now deemed surplus to requirements but remain trained and available for hire.
Several thousand soldiers were made redundant in 2002, at the same time as the Ministry of Defence was ethnically reformed in preparation for DDR, were deemed surplus to requirements. The personnel were promised financial packages but claim that those promises were never honoured. Monthly demonstrations continue to disrupt Kabul and to date remain peaceful.