Even with an agreement between the United States and the Taliban uncertain for now, an eventual intra-Afghan peace process will still need to address many critical challenges—including the reintegration of former fighters and their families. Life in a post-settlement Afghanistan could involve an estimated 60,000 full-time Taliban fighters returning to civilian life. There may also be efforts to demobilize other armed groups that have been fighting the Taliban. And if ex-combatants are not accepted by their communities or are unable to find a new livelihood, they may be vulnerable to recruitment by criminal groups or terrorist organizations like the Islamic State.

To address this vital but often overlooked issue and assist U.S. policymakers and agencies as they craft an approach to reintegration, the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has produced the agency’s seventh “Lessons Learned” program report. 

On September 18, USIP and SIGAR held the official launch of “Reintegration of Ex-Combatants: Lessons from the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan.” The event included a keynote address by Special Inspector General John Sopko, followed by a panel discussion on the report’s findings and recommendations—both for the ongoing insurgency and for a post-settlement Afghanistan. Continue the conversation with #SIGAR.

Speakers

John Sopko, keynote address
Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction 

Kate Bateman
Project Lead for Reintegration, Lessons Learned Program, SIGAR

Erica Gaston 
Non-Resident fellow, Global Public Policy Institute 

Timor Sharan
Deputy Minister for Policy and Technical Affairs, Independent Directorate of Local Governance 

Johnny Walsh
Senior Expert, Afghanistan, U.S Institute of Peace

Scott Worden, moderator
Director of Afghanistan and Central Asia Programs, United States Institute of Peace 

Related Publications

Afghanistan: Can Central Asia Help Spur Peace with the Taliban?

Afghanistan: Can Central Asia Help Spur Peace with the Taliban?

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

By: Adam Gallagher

Afghanistan’s peace process could be taking a major step forward in August with the potential commencement of intra-Afghan talks, said the U.S. chief negotiator on Friday. “This is an important moment for Afghanistan and for the region—perhaps a defining moment,” said Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. Peace in Afghanistan would redound to the benefit of the entire region. As the peace process stumbles forward, one critical but often overlooked element is the role of Afghanistan’s Central Asian neighbors.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

Legislature and Legislative Elections in Afghanistan: An Analysis

Legislature and Legislative Elections in Afghanistan: An Analysis

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

By: A. Farid Tookhy

Afghanistan’s newest Wolesi Jirga—the lower house of the National Assembly—boasts a younger and more educated membership than those elected in either 2005 or 2010. Its representativeness, however, is uneven and problematic. This report offers a comparative profile of the Wolesi Jirgas elected in 2005, 2010, and 2018, highlighting issues salient to the reforms Afghanistan needs to undertake if it is to hold credible national elections that yield truly representative elected institutions.

Type: Special Report

Democracy & Governance

U.S., Russian interests overlap in Afghanistan. So, why offer bounties to the Taliban?

U.S., Russian interests overlap in Afghanistan. So, why offer bounties to the Taliban?

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

By: Andrew Wilder

Recent intelligence reports indicating that Russian bounties paid to the Taliban to kill U.S. troops have bolstered American and Afghan officials long-held allegations that Moscow has been engaged in clandestine operations to undermine the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. Russia’s support for the Taliban, however, has largely been tactical in nature. Both Washington and Moscow ultimately have a converging strategic interest in a relatively stable Afghanistan without a long-term U.S. presence that will not be a haven for transnational terrorists. USIP’s Andrew Wilder looks at what this means for the decades-long Afghan conflict.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Global Policy

View All Publications