10 Taliban militants surrender in Afghanistan

Kabul, Sep 19 (IANS) At least 10 Taliban militants have joined the government-initiated peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, authorities said on Saturday.

“A total of 10 armed opponents, including their commanders named Bakhat Ali and Samar Gul, laid down their arms and joined the peace process,” Xinhua news agency quoted Afghan High Peace Council as saying in a statement.

“The former militants have handed over weapons to authorities during a welcoming ceremony held in provincial capital Jalalabad city,” the Afghan High Peace Council said.

With the former insurgents’ surrender, peace and stability would be strengthened in several parts of the province, the statement said.

The government set up a 70-member High Peace Council and launched the peace and reconciliation process in 2010 to encourage Taliban to disarm and give up militancy against the government.

According to peace council officials, more than 10,000 Taliban militants have laid down arms since mid 2010, but the claim has been rejected by the Taliban armed outfit as baseless.

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