Local police, government leaders and villagers gather outside of the new Anaba District Center in Panjshir province, Afghanistan, Aug. 11, to some of the weapons turned in through the Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups program. The weapons were displayed during a ceremony to celebrate the fact that Anaba was named Panjshir Province’s first ‘peaceful’ district by the Afghan government-led DIAG program.
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (August 13, 2008) — Government and military leaders, international representatives, and villagers packed into the common area of the new Anaba District Center in Panjshir province, Afghanistan, Aug. 11, to celebrate the naming of their district as "peaceful."
Anaba is the first district in Panjshir to be labelled a peaceful district.
This was made possible through efforts of the Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups program, which is an Afghan-government lead program whose goal is to establish a secure environment through the disarmament and disbandment of illegal armed groups in order to set the conditions for the extension of good governance and the rule of law.
“Our country suffered through three decades of war and when the DIAG program started here in Panjshir the district of Anaba became a district of peace,” said Abdul Rahman Kabiri, the province’s deputy governor. “Those weapons that we used to fight against our enemies are the same weapons that we handed in for the DIAG program.”
One of the main perks of the DIAG program for districts throughout Afghanistan is that the program offers up to $150,000 in support for reconstruction in districts deemed peaceful.
“This is a province known for its history of fighting the good fight, and now our fight is for both peace and reconstruction,” said Kabiri. “And that is why the DIAG process worked very well here in Anaba and is continuing to work throughout Panjshir.” The Afghan National Army’s military lead for DIAG, Gen. Azim, hopes other districts will follow in Anaba’s footsteps.
“We hope that the next district of Panjshir becomes peaceful, and then the next and the next and soon all of Afghanistan will not think of the people of Panjshir only as the fighters they once were,” he said.
Anaba’s governor reiterated the fact that the people of Anaba are ready to move forward and live in a province of peace and prosperity and hopes the other provincial districts will too.
“Panjshir people have fought seven times during this generation and many people have died,” said Qari Saddiqullah, Anaba District’s governor. “It really became our job to take up arms and fight against an enemy. Now the weapons we used to fight with belong to Afghanistan and our jobs are to help rebuild and revitalize our district.”
The three main objectives for DIAG are extending governance, maintaining security and ensuring popular support for the Afghan rule of law.
“Just by what we’ve seen and heard today, it’s clear to see that all three of DIAG’s objectives were met here in Anaba,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Russell Kaskel, Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team’s commander. “But even more than that, the trusting relationship that the people of Anaba have had with the PRT since our arrival shows that this really is a district of peace.”