Life after the Taliban

  • 21 Mar. 2012 -
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  • Last updated: 20 Mar. 2012 15:51

Once a Taliban commander, the softly-spoken Noor Mohammad Jami joined the peace process a year ago. Noor lives in the western province of Farah.

We Afghans have been killing each other for 30 years,” he says. “I look at other countries and they're developing, so why are we destroying our country?

Nowadays, Noor lets his son run his shop while he advises the local peace council, as well as mediating disputes between people from his village.

My children are going to school and when they come back, they work in their own shops. I am also solving the problems of my people at home. When there's a problem in my village, the elders of my village come to my house and I solve their problems,” explains Noor.

Dealing with threats

Noor says he hasn't had any problems with his security in Farah, but stays away from his home village. He has received threatening letters from the Taliban. For that reason, the government allows him to carry a rifle.

Everyone knows that during every meeting I receive many calls from the Taliban commanders,” Noor tells us. “They say, ‘you have become a non-Muslim and we will pay between 100 000 and 200 000 dollars reward for those who will kill you or kidnap your kids.

Other former Taliban from the area have been joining the peace process. The former Taliban fighters hand in their heavy weapons and rejoin Afghan society. In return, the local government promises to offer them job opportunities, training and protection from reprisal attacks.

Peace and reintegration

They have the right to do politics, they have the right to learn, they have right to be government employees and they have right to run for the public offices and nobody can bother them,” says Farah Provincial Governor Roohul Amin at a recent reintegration ceremony.

The reintegration programme, launched officially in July last year, has signed up 149 former fighters in Farah and over 3 500 country-wide. The number is relatively small compared to estimated fighters on the ground but participants are recruited with the hope of keeping them out of the fight.

For Noor, it’s been successful. But he says other fighters should make up their own minds to join the peace process, even if they don't want to work with the government.

Every Afghan should make their own decision to come back and join the government. And if he wants to work for the government, that’s good, but if not so then he can start a job on his own.