Spc. Charles Moore, left, of Angleton Texas, Pfc. Nikolai Starr, center, of San Antonio Texas.,along with Spc. Andrew Vanderhaeghen of Rochester, MN., of 2nd Platoon Bravo Company 2-327 return fires upon a sudden attack by Taliban on Combat Out Post Badel in easteran Afghanistan near Pakistan border on Saturday, Dec 25, 2010.(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Despite Taliban threats against their lives, nearly 900 militants have quit the fight and enrolled in an Afghan government program that works to lure insurgents off the battlefield.
Maj. Gen. Phil Jones, director of the Reintegration Efforts at NATO Headquarters in Kabul, said Monday at least 45 other insurgent groups across the nation have expressed interest in the program.
The program attracts fighters with promises of jobs, literacy training and development aid for their villages. But it faces challenges.
He says the Taliban have retaliated against insurgents switching sides in northern Afghanistan. He says some local Afghan leaders remain unclear about the details of the program and others question whether the safety of ex-combatants can be guaranteed.
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