|Former insurgents officially inducted into Afghan Peace and Reintegration Program|
By ISAF Regional Command South
KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (February 8, 2012) — Twelve former insurgents chose to walk the path of peace this week as they were officially inducted into the Afghan Peace and Reintegration Program (APRP) at the Provincial Governors Compound in Tarin Kot, Uruzgan Province.
Before a sizeable media contingent the men were welcomed by an official party led by Uruzgan Governor Muhammad Omar Shirzad.
The APRP is an Afghan Government peace initiative designed and implemented by Afghans for Afghans. The program offers the opportunity for insurgents to voluntarily leave the fight so that they can return to their communities with honor and dignity. The former insurgents who are choosing the path to peace in Uruzgan Province demonstrated great courage late last year when, on their own initiative, they defied the insurgent hierarchy by refusing to lay IED's or follow criminal orders in their home valley located in Khas Uruzgan. This was followed by a constructive dialogue with representatives of the legitimate Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) that led, this week, to former adversaries embracing in friendship in Tarin Kot and vowing peace.
"Our doors remain open for others who are interested in reuniting with the government - the Afghanistan National Security Forces or coalition forces will not bother those considering the program," said Governor Shirzad. This sentiment was reflected by a former insurgent commander who this week laid down his weapons. "We want all our people to come and join the peace process," he said. To Symbolize their new beginning and as a mark of respect, the former insurgents were each presented with a new Longai traditional headdress and the Holy Quran by respected elders and government officials including Provincial Chief Justice Maulawi Mohammad Jan. Now that the reintegration candidates are formally accepted into the APRP, they will begin the demobilization process with a formal vow to cut all ties with insurgent groups, renounce violence and pledge to respect the Afghanistan constitution.
Afghanistan wide over 3000 former insurgents have now signed up to the peace program.