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20 Taliban fighters lay down arms in southern Afghan province


17:19, January 16, 2012

GHAZNI, Afghanistan, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Twenty Taliban fighters including a key commander on Monday laid down arms and joined the peace process in Afghan Ghazni province, 125 km south of capital Kabul. "These former rebels under Mullah Khadimul Furqan have handed over their weapons to security authorities,"provincial governor Musa Khan Akbarzada said at the ceremony to welcome the former militants.

With these people joining the peace process, the security situation will be further improved, he said, adding more militants would give up militancy and join the peace process in future.

Mullah Furqan and his men were active in Dayak district and nearby areas and had often harmed government interests including Afghan and NATO-led forces. "Since war is not the solution to Afghan problem, I have decided to join peace process and I am also calling on other armed oppositions to follow in the steps and give up fighting", Mullah Furqan said.

However, he was concerned about his future and called on the government to ensure his security and the security of his followers, saying Taliban would target anyone who switches side.

Taliban militants have yet to make comment.

According to Afghan government, more than 3,000 anti-government militants have laid down arms and joined the government-initiated peace process and national reconciliation over the past year, a claim rejected by Taliban outfit as groundless.


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