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    Combined Task Force Spartan hosts district-wide reintegration shura, unites influentials around insurgents’ peaceful return to communities



    Story by Capt. Kevin Sandell 

    3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division

    ZHARAY DISTRICT, KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – In the second time in nearly four months, leaders from Combined Task Force Spartan hosted a brigade-wide reintegration shura at Forward Operating Base Pasab, Sept. 19, meant to rally provincial and district government officials and key village elders around Afghanistan’s Peace and Reintegration Program, while also using the release of several former detainees as a uniting factor to highlight the program.

    During the event attended by over 200 people, Col. Patrick Frank, Commander of CTF Spartan, emphasized the elements of the reintegration strategy, a 10-step process that includes initiatives such as reaching out directly to the insurgents via letters and “invitations for dialogue,” contacting local mullahs because of their influence on the local population, hosting district-level reintegration shuras, releasing detainees who are apt to be peaceful citizens in their communities, and using the Civil Service Department as an avenue to employ and train local civilians.

    This is the second reintegration shura that CTF Spartan has hosted since June 30, when approximately 150 people met on FOB Pasab to discuss details for the program in Zharay and Maiwand districts.

    A group of former detainees, all dressed in matching clothes, each stood in front of Zharay District Governor, Niaz Sarhadi, and recited an oath pledging their allegiance to the Afghan government, while also vowing to stay away from insurgent operations. Each man placed a thumbprint, the traditional Afghan method of signing documents, on the oath of release.

    Their release to the community is the first part of a process that makes them eligible for complete reintegration through the APRP, said Ed Pressman, a U.S. State Department official working for the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team. Once all the men had inked their thumbs, they were led to a table, where they received navy-colored vests with the Civil Service Department logo on them.

    The Civil Service Department is a program that trains Afghan civilians in a specific trade, and allows them to start a business using the trade. CSD workers are also eligible for micro-grants, which helps to expand businesses. While the APRP pays reintegrees for three months, the Civil Service Department continues to pay workers for 12 months. With a solid income for a year, and a job in a skilled trade, a former insurgent should not be swayed to fall back to the Taliban, coalition forces leaders said.

    Also during the shura, two influential elders in Zharay district were awarded the Shona-ba-Shona medal, which is given to Afghan security forces and key village leaders who demonstrate a commitment to supporting the Afghan government, or assist in vital operations, such as cache finds or insurgent captures. The medals were awarded by Command Sgt. Maj. Marvin Hill, the senior enlisted leader for the International Security Assistance Force.

    At the shura, key village elders sat at tables with other influential citizens from their area. CTF Spartan leaders hoped the tables would bring all the central people together around a common theme of bringing their former sons fighting for the insurgency back home.



    Date Taken: 09.19.2011
    Date Posted: 09.24.2011 14:39
    Story ID: 77532
    Location: ZHARI DISTRICT, AF

    Web Views: 93
    Downloads: 1