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Afghan Reconciliation Program Grows

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2005 – The government of Afghanistan has announced a dramatic increase in its reconciliation program applicants in the wake of successful parliamentary elections, Combined Forces Command Afghanistan officials reported today.

More than 14 former enemy combatants have approached Afghan government officials expressing an intent to join the government's reconciliation program in the Kunar Province, once the scene of intense anti-coalition fighting, officials said.

The reconciliation program, dubbed "The Program Takhim-E Solh," which translates to "Strengthening Peace Program," offers former insurgents and other anti-coalition fighters the opportunity to renounce violence and peacefully join with the government of Afghanistan.

"These developments illustrate that the government of Afghanistan's successful parliamentary elections are signaling a beginning of the end for the enemies of Afghanistan," said Army Brig. Gen. James G. Champion, Combined Joint Task Force 76 deputy commander for operations.

"We also have a perfect example here of Afghan forces protecting the Afghan people," Champion said, noting that the operation was conceived and executed with virtually no U.S. involvement. "Afghan national forces are quickly becoming a professional, dedicated and loyal force for good in this great nation," he said.

Meanwhile, Afghan National Police forces are continuing their operations against insurgents and captured a key enemy commander in the Ghazni Province this week, officials reported.

Abdul Gafar was captured Sept. 28 after a local man reported his location to Afghan forces, officials said. U.S. forces provided security while Afghan National Police detained Gafar.

Gafar is behind a number of improvised explosive devices and rocket and small-arms attacks against Afghan and U.S. forces in the Ghazni area, officials said.

(From Combined Forces Afghanistan news releases.)

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