Mr. Hekmat Karzai, Director of the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies in addition to two Senior Research Analysts, Mr. Abdulhadi Hairan and Mr. Abdul Halim Achakzai and a Research Fellow, Miss. Mariam Safi attended the Regional Network of Strategic Studies Centres Working Group Meetings, in Kathmandu, Nepal on Feb. 24-26, 2010.
Mr. Hekmat Karzai, Director of the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies (CAPS), was selected to chair a Working Group meeting titled “Reintegration, Reconstruction, and Reconciliation (R3)” on Afghanistan. The meeting was a follow up on the plenary session of the RNSSC held in New Delhi, India from the 18th-21st November 2009. Mariam Safi, Research Fellow and Abdulhadi Hairan, Research Analyst at CAPS also participated in the R3 working group.
The Working Group meeting had participants from India, Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, UAE, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, China, Russia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the United States, and focused primarily on the reintegration and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
The session commenced with Mr. Karzai delivering a comprehensive presentation on Afghanistan explaining the insurgent groups, their backgrounds and motivations, the counterinsurgency efforts, the realities on the ground, the need for reintegration and reconciliation and how this process could potentially bring about effective solutions to the Afghan conflict. The audience received the presentation with much praise and further discussed the factors involved in the reintegration and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
Following the presentation by Mr. Karzai, the participants discussed the process of reintegration and reconciliation itself, its possibilities and risks, responsibilities of the international, regional and local stakeholders. Most importantly, the experiences and modules of other countries that have also dealt with instances of militancy and insurgencies were also shared and discussed in the context of Afghanistan.
The last session of the working group, involved a lengthy discussion period, it was decided that each participant will write a 3-5 page paper that will include suggestions and recommendations for the Afghan reintegration and reconciliation process in the context of their home countries’ experiences in dealing with insurgencies. The papers will be evaluated in the next Working Group meeting which will be held on June in Istanbul, Turkey.
As the idea of ‘Afghan Ownership’ along with the reintegration and reconciliation process in Afghanistan is gaining momentum and support across the world, efforts are on the way for a more effective process. The Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies (CAPS) armed with indigenous capacity and expertise has been playing a leading role in this process by gathering and providing accurate data and information, conducting researches and assessments, establishing councils and other trust-building measures, providing legal assistance, organizing, and participating in conferences and meetings and bridging the gap between the involving parties on both top and bottom levels.
Mr. Achakzai, Senior Research Analyst at CAPS participated in the Governance Challenges Working Group previously known as the Democracy and Governance working group. The members of this group discussed the status of Civil-Military relations and presented the case studies & experiences of their own respective countries. On behalf of CAPS, Mr. Achakzai presented the case study of Afghanistan, which contained two sections. In the first part, he explained the status of civil military relations in pre-Taliban era. In the second part, he discussed the status of the newly established Afghan National Army (ANA) that was created in 2002 and has gradually become a credible national security institution.
After hearing case studies of different countries, the chair of the working group, Ambassador Murat Bilhan expressed his satisfactions about the performance of the members and praised them for devoting time to write the articles..
In addition, the chair and members of the working group emphasized that the current articles should be extended to at least 2,500 words per article. Mr. Sami Hajjar the deputy chairm of the working group mentioned that after the completion of the articles, they will be published in a special edition of Strategic Analysis journal of Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA).
In conclusion, it was decided that the next meeting of the working group would be held in Manama, Bahrain in June 2010.