Ex-Taliban fighters to be lured away from fighting through cash, jobs

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Kabul, Nov.11 (ANI): Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai and international forces are reportedly drawing up a scheme that will include spending hundreds of millions of pounds on recruiting former Taliban fighters for jobs. The two-year plan is aimed at persuading the insurgents to lay down their arms, The Telegraph reports.

Karzai is expected to reach out to fighters in his inauguration speech next week and donors are already signing off hundreds of millions for the project.

Japan on Tuesday announced a five billion dollar civilian aid package to Afghanistan to be spent over the next five years, including job training for former fighters.

Last month, US President Barack Obama signed a defence-spending bill authorizing the release of funds to "support the reintegration into Afghan society of those individuals who have renounced violence".

The US funding will come from a 1.3 billion dollar discretionary fund set aside for military officials to provide quick cash to locals for construction or security needs.

NATO commanders believe the only way to defeat the insurgency is to win over the "vast majority" of Taliban fighters who are motivated by money, local feuds, grievances and disputes rather than ideology.

Lieutenant-General Sir Graeme Lamb, a retired British commander, has been coaxed out of retirement by the senior US commander General Stanley McChrystal to lure moderate fighters away from hardline extremists. He has said most fighters can be persuaded to change sides by dialogue or better employment prospects.

General Lamb, who helped persuade Sunni tribes to break with al-Qaeda in Iraq, has said it would be impossible to "fight our way to success".

Diplomats said the scheme was in its early stages, but could see the money being used to create jobs in existing development projects.

A Western official told The Daily Telegraph: "We need to find them a way back into the community and for low level fighters that might include a job. There's going to be an element of carrot and stick, so any incentive will have to be combined with military pressure."

Britain has yet to commit any money to the project, an embassy spokesman said. (ANI)

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