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50 more militants surrender in Baghlan, Afghanistan

(Xinhua)

14:45, January 29, 2012

PUL-E-KHUMRI, Afghanistan, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Fifty more militants surrender to the government in the northern Afghan province of Baghlan, a provincial police source said Sunday.

"A total of 50 anti-government militants, including several group commanders, have renounced violence and joined the government in Baghlan-e-Markazi district late on Saturday," provincial police chief of Baghlan, Asadullah Shirzad, told Xinhua on Sunday morning.

He said the former group of militants belonged to Hizb-i-Islami.

Hizb-i-Islami, with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar as its leader, is the second largest militant group fighting the government.

With these people joining the peace process, the security situation will be further improved in Baghlan province, police chief Shirzad said, adding with the mediation of local elders, more militants would give up militancy and join the peace process in near future.

Police chief Shirzad also said more than 100 militants, with a majority of them Taliban, have joined the peace process in the province, some 160 km north of Kabul over the past couple of days.

Local media reports recently said peace talks between the Afghan government and Hezb-i-Islami militants are heading towards a positive direction.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Jan. 21 confirmed that he personally held peace talks with a delegation of Hizb-i-Islami recently.

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