June 4 - NATO and Afghan officials attend a ceremony as part of the reintegration of former insurgents into the community, but a top ex-general questions the program's effectiveness. Jessica Gray reports.
Rifles and ammunition line tables at an Afghan ceremony in western Ghor province. About 100 men laid down their arms and pledged their allegiance to the government on Monday as part of a reintegration program sponsored by Afghanistan. NATO and Afghan officials say the former insurgents are ready to join the country's peace process. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) RAIS MUHMOD, ONE OF THE REINTEGRATED MAN SAYING: "Misery and sorrow compelled us to take up the gun and fight with each other but now we have decided to hand over our guns to the government in order to have peace and stability in the country." The program promoted by President Hamid Karzai gives reformed fighters amnesty as well as training, jobs and aid for their villages. However, Afghanistan's reintegration plan targeting Taliban rebels has come under fire from critics at home like former general Jaweed Kohistani. He says the government has spent a great deal of money, but failed to bring over top-level Taliban leaders who are key to negotiating peace treaties. The criticism comes amid increasing anxiety over the security handover by international troops scheduled for 2014. Jessica Gray, Reuters