Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Afghanistan: ISAF Leaders Laud Kandahar Peace and Reintegration Efforts

Source: North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)

International Security Assistance Force Headquarters

KABUL, Afghanistan – Kandahar Governor Tooryalai Wesa announced during a ceremony yesterday that thirty insurgents joined the Afghan Peace and Reintegration Program. The reintegrees were welcomed in a ceremony attended by Governor Wesa, the head of the Kandahar Provincial Council, the Kandahar NDS director and other local officials and elders. This reintegration event was particularly meaningful given the long struggle against the Taliban who consider Kandahar the birthplace of their movement.

Gen. David H. Petraeus, ISAF Commander, noted the significance of the event. "We know ultimately there will not be a military solution in Afghanistan," said Gen. Petraeus. "I applaud the Afghan government's continued focus on reintegration and in developing an Afghan solution that removes armed opponents from the fight and welcomes them back into their communities to live in peace."

Maj. Gen. Phil Jones, who leads ISAF's reintegration support to the Afghan government, also expressed his sense of how this program is maturing across Afghanistan. "We're encouraged by the attention the Afghan government places on reintegration efforts, and by the increasing numbers of reintegration events occurring throughout the country," Maj. Gen. Jones said. "The focus on the Afghan Peace and Reintegration Program, from Professor Rabbani, the High Peace Council and Minister Stanekzai, down through the provincial and district level, is having a noticeable impact on efforts to reintegrate fighters into Afghan society, encouraging them to contribute to the well-being of their local community."

Kandahar officials said they would help the reintegrees find jobs and return to a normal life.