15 militants surrender in Afghan province: official

Kabul, Nov 18 (IANS) At least 15 Taliban rebels renounced violence and surrendered to the authorities in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Kunar on Wednesday, the provincial governor said.

“Today (Wednesday), we warmly welcome our 15 brothers who denounced the hostility and joined the peace and reconciliation process,” Xinhua quoted governor Wahidullah Kalemzai as saying.

“The government will spare no efforts to help them rejoin their families and provide them jobs,” he added.

The surrendered rebels, who had been under the command of Akhtar Mohammad, were active in Saokai district. They also handed over 15 weapons along with ammunition to security authorities at the surrender ceremony.

With the insurgents’ surrender, peace and stability would be further strengthened in several parts of the province, 180 km east of Afghan capital of Kabul, the governor said.

Taliban militants fighting the government have not made any comments yet.

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

Since mid-2010, more than 10,000 Taliban militants have laid down arms and joined the government-backed peace process, according to officials, but the claim has been rejected by the armed outfit as “baseless”.

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