A former jihadist commander turned peacebuilder, building the foundations for an inclusive and peaceful Afghanistan.
Hajji Khalil is a well-known and respected personality in Badghis Province, Afghanistan. A former jihadist commander turned prosecutor, district governor and, for the last three years, the head of the Badghis Provincial Peace Council. Under his tenure and through his interventions around 1500 Taliban members have joined Hajii’s programme aimed at reconciliation and peace. A trusted expert in mediating tribal conflicts, Hajii’s approach is direct and personal. He travels to districts and remote villages to sit, explain and listen. To date, more than 500 families have joined the peace process and around 300 women have been trained in livelihood activities such as tailoring and carpet weaving.
Supporting the Afghan Peace and Reintegration Programme, Hajii was able to establish effective cooperation between security agencies, development agencies and shuras (local councils) at a time when the situation on the ground was volatile and insecure. The successful reintegration of armed opposition groups, including the Taliban, and the implementation of more than 30 agriculture and vocational training projects have improved the security situation in his province significantly. Women have been vocationally trained and given the opportunity to generate income for their families. At the same time workshops on peacebuilding and conflict management have provided women the chance to improve their knowledge about the peace process and how they can contribute to peace within their communities. Hajjis efforts to strengthening the cooperation between security and development programs have gone full circle by improving the performance of sub-national governance and by laying down the foundations for an open, inclusive and peaceful Afghanistan.