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Afghan leader calls for unity as four former detainees are reunited with families

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

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March 28, 2011 — PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan (March 28, 2011) — Four detainees were released from the Detention Facility in Parwan and reunited with their families and villagers during a detainee release shura March 24.

The Afghan-led program for releasing detainees, implemented in January 2010, stresses the importance of reintegration into Afghan society. As an integral part of the shura, each detainee signs a pledge of non-violence, vowing not to take up arms and swearing allegiance to the government of Afghanistan.

“We have seen a lot of trouble and hardships, but now the country is making progress,” said Afghan National Army Maj. Gen. Marjan Shuja, Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435 Afghan commander, who presided over the ceremony. “We need to be united in this rehabilitation and reintegration process and continue to build our country.”

Marjan welcomed family members and village elders who made the trip from their villages to Parwan to attend the shura. These “guarantors” signed statements agreeing to assist former detainees with their reintegration into society, support their return to the community and supervise their conduct.  The guarantor statement is an informal, not legally binding document, but is worded to align with local customs.

Marjan called for Afghans to support coalition forces who are working to improve conditions in Afghanistan, and asked the group to support those who work for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

“You can see progress in the schools, mosques and roads being built,” the general said.  “It is our job to keep them safe and nice. It is a slow process, but we are moving ahead, and this requires unity.”

After 30 years of war, Afghanistan became an unstable country in which many communities were controlled by warlords, the general said.  He stressed that Afghanistan is now united and the citizens must support the process to make their country strong.

“We now have the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police, which are your sons and your fathers and your brothers,” Marjan said.  “They are made from you, so you have to support them and help them; they are working hard for you.”

Local officials also made statements calling for unity and support of coalition forces.

“There is no place for war or fighting,” said Kabir Ahmad, Bagram district governor.  “We need security.  We need prosperity.  We need progress. NATO has come here with their resources and money to help us. We must help them and ourselves by being strong and united.”

Following their remarks, Ahmad and Marjan congratulated the former detainees on their release, wished them a peaceful and happy life, and asked them about their experiences. The released men said they participated in literacy training in the DFIP and were treated well.

“I received a Quran and was able to read it in the facility,” said one man.

The DFIP, a state-of-the-art theater internment facility located several kilometers from Bagram Airfield, was completed in September 2009 and occupied by detainees in late December 2009. The DFIP is equipped with a medical facility, on-site family visitation center, vocational facilities and educational classrooms. The design of the DFIP accommodates detainee reintegration efforts and enables Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435 to better align detainee operations with the overall strategy to defeat the extremist insurgency in Afghanistan.

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.   CJIATF-435 is conducting a conditions-based transition of detention operations to Afghan control while promoting Rule of Law practices.