Roughly 10 per cent of members of the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan have joined a Western-backed reintegration programme that is encouraging people to stop fighting, NATO said Friday, DPA reported.
The Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme is run by the local government, but is supported by NATO's military mission there, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
British Major General Phil D. Jones, who coordinates ISAF's work on the subject, told reporters that 2,436 pro-Taliban fighters had joined the programme in its first year of operation.
That represents "about 10 per cent" of the insurgency, as "in the past 18 months ISAF has used a rough figure of something in the region of 25,000 people" to estimate their strength.
While NATO emphasizes that people are not bribed to stop fighting, former insurgents are given wages for three months to help them find a job or start a business.
They are also asked to sign a declaration pledging to renounce violence, respect the Afghan Constitution and break ties with the insurgency.
Jones, speaking to reporters in Brussels via videolink from Kabul, acknowledged that infiltrators are "a challenge," but urged them not to "overstate the scale of the problem."