KABUL - The Ministry of Public Works will provide jobs for those who join the peace process in their areas, an official said on Wednesday. Public Works Minister Abdul Qudus Hameedi said at a hearing in the Wolesi Jirga, or lower house of Parliament, that commanders who joined the peace process would be hired as managers and their men as employees.
Hameedi appeared before the lower house to report on his ministry's activities. He said the ministry had received around $2.8 million from the High Peace Council to generate employment for former fighters.
In response to a question from a Pajhwok reporter about how many people have been recruited so far, he said: "We're currently working on setting up a task force and start recruitment after its creation."
Hameedi explained the cabinet had already approved the establishment of the force, which would create employment opportunities, improve security and repair roads.
In the first phase, according to Hameedi, those who join the peace process will be recruited to work on a ring road. Thereafter they will be placed on other projects.
Unemployment is a major problem for Afghanistan's people, MP Daud Kalakani told Pajhwok Afghan News. If armed government opponents are recruited to construction jobs, it would help the country achieve sustainable security, he believed.
He warned if former insurgents are not provided with jobs, they will rejoin the militants. Habibullah Andiwal, an MP from Zabul, called the peace process a failure and claimed High Peace Council members could not visit their provinces, much less recruit the militants.
He said members of the High Peace Council had no influence in their provinces and had not spoken with the fighters. Andiwal also expressed concern about the people who join the peace process. He said there is no guarantee that those recruited would not continue to work for the insurgents, or for other countries' intelligence agencies.
Since the creation of the council, more than 3,000 militants have joined the peace process. Some of them have threatened to rejoin militant groups if they are provided with jobs.