Disarmed Afghan Warlords May Take Up Arms Again

The Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration process, DDR, was started in 2004 with the objective of purging Afghanistan of armed combatants and reintegrating them into civilian lives. The project was led by the government of Japan, and by its completion in July 2005, it had used up $200 million in cash. However, despite the heavy dollars it devoured and the time and effort it took, serious doubts still remain.

The most important fact is that  there still are around 1800 active armed groups consisting of 100,000 combatants in Afghanistan and that they will have to be dealt with by another dollar-devouring process, DIAG–Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups. The failure of DDR and the necessity of DIAG means millions of dollars will have to be diverted from other vital development projects–needed badly by the country– to disarmament.

Many Afghan analysts are not only questioning the implementation of the DDR, but are also fearing that warlordism and gun culture may get a boost as a result. They think that the already disarmed warlords and other armed combatants are now fearing for their lives as some of their adversaries still hold weapons. This, they believe, may prompt them to take up arms once again in order to safeguard themselves and their families.

They also criticize the poor "reintegration" of the disarmed combatants, saying they haven’t been taught new skills and provided with suitable jobs. This may also, they say, provide an impetus to their "compulsion" to take up arms for subsistence. This fact was paraphrased by a sentence on an Afghan TV show, the Truth, like this: "How could the armed combatants, who have been making a living through the force of their guns for decades; and who lack other suitable skills, now earn a living without a job, a skill or their guns?"

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I no longer update this weblog due to academic and other preoccupations. However, feel free to browse through its older entries. Thanks.
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