PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Dec. 23, 2010) — Six former detainees were released to the custody of their families and tribal elders during a release shura here Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010.
Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435’s Afghan commander, Afghan National Army Maj. Gen. Marjan Shuja, presided over the event and helped welcome the detainees back into their communities.
“We are happy these brothers may be released,” said Marjan through an interpreter. “Congratulations and we pray for your success and happiness.”
As an integral part of the shura, each detainee signed a pledge of non-violence, vowing not to take up arms and swearing allegiance to the government of Afghanistan. Adhering to Afghan communal traditions, tribal elders signed guarantor statements agreeing to assist the former detainees as they reintegrate into society, supporting their return to the community and supervising their conduct. The guarantor statement is an informal, not legally binding document, but is worded to align with local customs.
“We Afghans should work hard to rebuild our country and take it out of this situation,” said an elder, who spoke during the shura about the many years of war and fighting in Afghanistan. “If somebody asks you to destroy something ask yourself, why? If we destroy things we will never build up our country.”
The elder told the shura attendees not to get involved with improvised explosive devices or anti-government activities.
“The Americans are here to help us rebuild our country and build peace,” he said.
Marjan said it is important for the former detainees to avoid dangerous people and situations.
“Whoever we have relations with, we will be impacted by them,” he said. “If we have relations with bad people, we will be negatively impacted.”
The aim of reintegration is to remove Afghan fighters by bringing those willing to renounce violence and accept the Afghan constitution back into their communities with honor and dignity. While at the Detention Facility in Parwan, eligible detainees have opportunities to participate in educational and vocational classes. Through these courses, detainees may develop skills to increase their employability upon their release. This provides an economic incentive to keep them from returning to the insurgency.
One former detainee said he planned to become a tailor when he returned home using skills he learned at the DFIP.
“There was a reason you came to the DFIP, but you have been educated and corrected your ways. I wish you peace,” said the general.
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. Ultimately, conditions permitting, CJIATF-435 will transition detention operations to Afghan control while promoting Rule of Law practices.
The 46th Military Police Command, Task Force Peacekeeper, a subordinate CJIATF-435 command, oversees all detention operations at the DFIP. The task force ensures the safe and humane custody, control and care of detained persons in the DFIP. The 96th Military Police Battalion, Task Force Spartan, trains the Afghan Soldiers in detention operations and provides linguists to overcome language barriers. Their efforts will enable Afghan National Army Soldiers to assume responsibility from their American counterparts and run the detention facility.
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 CJIATF-435 to better align detainee operations with the overall strategy to defeat the extremist insurgency in Afghanistan.