US military wants more 'Sons of Iraq' as police

BAGHDAD (AP) -- The U.S. military is urging Iraq's Shiite-led government to boost the number of Sunni volunteers into its security forces.

Col. Byron Freeman, commander of the 8th Military Police Brigade, says a reluctant Iraqi government agreement to absorb about 20 percent of the volunteers shouldn't stop there.

The brigade has been training the volunteers, many of whom are ex-insurgents who became some of the 100,000 members of the Awakening Councils, also known as Sons of Iraq.

The Iraqi government agreement is an attempt at reconciliation with the minority Sunni Arab community.

Many of the volunteers turned against al-Qaida, and U.S. officials fear some will return to the battlefield if the government does not honor its pledge.

Freeman says more police on the streets will further curb violence.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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