HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Nov. 4, 2010) — A Helmand provincial leader asked his community to join the call for peace and reconciliation during a detainee release shura Nov. 3 at a government compound here.
“Anybody who has spent some time in detention I pray for you. Don’t do anything wrong again. Do something good for your country,” said Haji Abdul Satar, Helmand deputy governor as he welcomed the men back into the community. Satar also invited those still at odds with the government to join him in making peace in Afghanistan.
“Put your guns down and join us in the process,” said Satar. “Some are saying that because there are foreigners here it is time for jihad, but the foreigners didn’t come here to kill innocents. They came here to help the people build a secure Afghanistan. Come and join us build a better Afghanistan.”
Fourteen men detained at the Detention Facility in Parwan were released to the custody of tribal elders during the shura.
The Afghan program for releasing detainees stresses the importance of reintegration into Afghan society.
Local leaders at the shura signed guarantor statements for the released men pledging to monitor the released detainees, support their return to the community and supervise their conduct.
Afghan National Army Major Gen. Marjan Shuja, Afghan Commander Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435, oversaw the shura and encouraged the former detainees to live a happy and peaceful life.
“I hope and pray they will do something good for themselves, their family and the country,” Marjan said. “I hope they should not think to do anything wrong against the people of this country.”
The general and his staff work closely with U.S. officials as CJIATF-435, conditions permitting, transitions detention operations to Afghan control. This transfer is consistent with the memorandum of agreement signed by the Afghan Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Justice, Supreme Court, Attorney General’s Office, National Directorate of Security and the Ministry of Interior on Jan. 9, 2010.
In the last 11 months more than 500 ANA Soldiers completed training and joined the guard force at the DFIP. Two of the four detainee housing units at the facility are now operated by ANA with U.S. oversight. Once transferred, the detention facility will be part of a larger Justice Center in Parwan, which will become Afghanistan’s central location for the pre-trial detention, prosecution and post-trial incarceration of national security suspects.
The DFIP accommodates detainee reintegration efforts and enables CJIATF-435 to better align detainee operations with the overall strategy to defeat the extremist insurgency in Afghanistan.
Eligible detainees held at the DFIP may participate in literacy and vocational training which provides skills that may assist their reintegration. Vocational training areas include tailoring, agriculture and baking.
Since implementation in January, more than 250 men have rejoined their communities through detainee release shuras.