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Four former detainees released during Paktika shura

By MCC (SW) Maria Yager , Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435

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Jan. 23, 2011 — CENTCOM

Local leaders sign a guarantor statement at an Afghan release shura in Paktika province Jan. 20.  The statement states the group will monitor the released detainees, support their return to the community and supervise their conduct. Photo by U.S. Navy Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW) Maria Yager.

PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Jan. 23, 2011) — Four former detainees were released from the Detention Facility in Parwan to the custody of tribal elders during an Afghan release shura in Paktika province Jan. 20.

The Afghan program for releasing detainees, implemented in January 2010 and numbering more than 300 released detainees, stresses the importance of reintegration into Afghan society.

Paktika Governor Muhibullah Samim presided over the ceremony, which was attended by more than 60 community members who agreed to monitor the released men and help reintegrate them back into their community.

“We are all Afghans and we must work harder to bring peace and security to this country,” said Samim. “Each Afghan, it does not matter if he is young or old, must work to support our government.”

Afghan National Army Major Gen. Marjan Shuja, Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435 Afghan commander, attended the shura and met with Governor Samim and the elders. Marjan thanked them for their support and implored them to help bring peace and security to Afghanistan.

“Don’t let insurgents come into your villages and attack the Afghan National Security Forces,” said Marjan. “Do not let them conspire against the government or place IEDs in your roads.”

The Paktika governor echoed Marjan’s comments and asked the community to support the ANSF in their efforts.

“When they have to search your house, mosque or school, please do not get upset because that is our ANSF’s job to protect you from the insurgents,” said Samim, whose province was attacked during an IED explosion earlier in the week that killed 13 villagers.

Samin asked the elders to look out for all the people in their community and welcomed the released men home.

“We are going to make sure they become common people and stay home or quit supporting or helping the insurgents in the current situation,” said the governor. “I am very happy that my fellow Afghans are coming back to their families and that they want to live back with their families.”

The released men signed a pledge to renounce violence.  This signed pledge of non-violence is a key component in the reintegration process, as the detainee formally, in writing, pledges to not return to the battlefield.

The released men spoke during the shura, thanking Governor Samim and their elders for welcoming them home. The men said they were happy to be home with their families and described their conditions at the DFIP.

“We were treated very well and provided food and water and necessities,” said a released man.

The release shura process supports the reintegration of low- and mid-level fighters and leaders from detention to Afghan society.  Reintegration principles presuppose detainees will eventually return to their village.  A well-orchestrated release and reintegration plan ensures counterinsurgency principles are considered at each step in the process.

CJIATF-435 and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan work closely with the Afghan Ministry of Defense to reach out to trusted Afghan partners to establish a similar, singular point of contact for these processes.  This ensures consistency and continuity, making the release process more effective.  The overarching goal is to reduce the risk that a released individual returns to the insurgency.

CJIATF-435, in partnership with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and U.S. interagency and international partners, conducts operations in detention, corrections, the judicial sector and biometrics.   Ultimately, conditions permitting, CJIATF-435 will transition detention operations to Afghan control while promoting Rule of Law practices.