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Afghan Militia Members Turn in Weapons at Kandahar Ceremony

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2004 – Civilian militia members were scheduled to lay down their arms today in a ceremony in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

This morning's disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration commencement ceremony was scheduled to include a parade of 1,000 demobilizing soldiers, and weapons collection was set to begin this afternoon, according to a Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news release. The commander of the Kandahar provincial reconstruction team was scheduled to attend the ceremony.

Officials said the ceremony marks another step in a program designed to integrate 100,000 Afghan militia members into the new Afghan army and other government-sponsored security activities, or into civilian life.

The same news release provided details on various military operations:

The Ghazni provincial reconstruction team received word of a weapons cache March 28. The PRT turned that information over to the U.S. infantry battalion at Ghazni, and 10th Mountain Division soldiers from that battalion recovered 10 anti-tank mines, 10 mortar rounds, 10 rocket-propelled grenades, and 100 30 mm grenades.

Also on March 28, soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division's 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment, found a cache with 2,000 Enfield rifles, 50 mortar rounds, 50 cases of 23 mm anti-aircraft rounds and various other munitions while clearing a building in Kandahar.

Coalition forces patrolling near Khowst March 27 discovered three weapons caches consisting of about 1,000 large- and 1,500 small-caliber machine gun rounds and various other munitions.

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