An Afghan National Civilian Operational Police greets a shopkeeper during a joint security patrol. The joint patrol purpose was to help foster a better relationship between local law enforcement and the local population. (ISAF photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joseph Swafford/released)
ZHARAY DISTRICT, KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Four former detainees were released back to their village, Jan. 11, after the village's tribal leader assured Afghan and coalition security forces that the four men would only be productive, positive influences in the community.
District government officials from Zharay district and Soldiers from Combined Task Force Spartan's 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment conducted the detainee release ceremony at Forward Operating Base Howz-e-Madad, for the men who were captured during a planned operation in the Zharay Dasht Camp, December 31, 2011. The men were from a Kuchi tribe that resided just north of the FOB, and were suspected improvised explosive device builders and emplacers.
Over 25 tribesmen and village elders attended the release ceremony, and the tribal leader, Tawos Khan, ensured the government and security officials that the men would be held accountable by the village elders, and their contact with the Taliban insurgents would be prohibited.
"These men are now under our responsibility,” said Tawos Khan. "We welcome them back into the village to become men who practice peace instead.”
After the Afghan government and 1-32 Infantry Battalion officials gave their remarks, the four detainees swore an oath against violence in the area, and then placed their thumbprints on a written copy of the oath. Placing one's thumbprint on a document is the traditional Afghan method for "signing” a document, and one's fingerprint is just as valid as an actual signature.
The Zharay district government and leaders from CTF Spartan have conducted at least six previous detainee release ceremonies throughout the district to demonstrate their willingness to free low-level Taliban insurgents, if their village or tribal leadership vows for their integrity and character.