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Empowered detainees to leave Detention Facility in Parwan with new knowledge

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

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CENTCOM

Detention Facility in Parwan detainees participate in group discussion during an Afghan civics class at the facility Feb. 5.. Photo by U.S. Navy Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW) Maria Yager.

PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Feb.6, 2011) — Eleven detainees scheduled for release from the Detention Facility in Parwan participated in the first-ever Afghan civics class offered at the facility Feb. 5.

“Our goal is to give the men a better understanding of the Afghanistan government structure, the Afghan constitution, Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program,  peace studies, geography,  demography, and health and wellness,” said U.S. Army Maj. Robert Matthews, assigned to the DFIP’s reintegration directorate and responsible for overseeing the course.

The course is divided into four sessions, is taught in a shura environment by Afghan instructors, and includes dialogue between the students and teacher. The goal is to create a cooperative learning environment.

The first session in the four part course discussed health and wellness.  Detainees learned how to recognize, treat or seek treatment for some common ailments prevalent in Afghanistan for themselves and their families.

“There was good communication between us,” said the health and wellness instructor, who added he was able to gauge the detainees’ comprehension based on their discussion in class. This was the first time anybody had ever spoken to some of these men about common diseases and their treatments, said the instructor.

“The participants seemed very interested,” the instructor said.

Other sessions include discussions on their country and programs available to the citizenry in Afghanistan.

“Geography and demography will give the men a broader perspective of what is going on around them,” said Matthews. “The GIRoA (Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) and constitution sessions discussed what detainees can expect from their government and how to seek help if they have problems.”

Course topics also included discussions on the different branches of government, history, sub-national governance, jirgas and independent agencies operating in Afghanistan.

“The class went very well today,” Matthews said. “The detainees were active in the discussion and our instructors are well respected by the detainees.  Once we go through a full iteration of the civics lesson plan, we will take what we’ve learned and improve the program.”

In addition to civics training, the reintegration directorate provides literacy and vocational training to eligible detainees. The men may learn a trade in tailoring, agriculture or baking, taught through the reintegration directorate.  These courses allow detainees to develop skills that will enable them to be contributing members of their villages upon their release and reintegration.

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 design of the DFIP accommodates detainee reintegration efforts and enables Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435 to better align detention 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, judicial sector and biometrics.   CJIATF-435 is conducting a conditions-based transition of detention operations to Afghan control, while promoting Rule of Law practices.