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50 Taliban lay down arms in S Afghan town Kandahar

12-20-2011 16:15 BJT

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Fifty Taliban militants laid down arms in Taliban birthplace southern Kandahar province, 450 km south of Afghan capital city Kabul on Tuesday.

"These former Taliban fighters under Hajji Malim had been active in Panjwai district and Kandahar city over the past couple of years and we expect other militants to follow them and lay down arms," Kandahar provincial governor Tooryalai Weesa told newsmen at the ceremony to welcome the former fighters.

All the former insurgents also handed over their weapons to the authorities and vowed to defend the government from now on.

Speaking on the occasion, Hajji Ata Mohammad, the head of High Peace Council, appreciated the former militants' decision, saying joining the peace process by Hajji Malim and his men would further strengthen the security in Panjwai and adjoin areas.

Taliban militants fighting Afghan and NATO-led troops have yet to make comment.

High Peace Council which has been established in 2010 is a government-backed body encouraging Taliban militants to lay down arms and give up militancy against government.

More than 3,000 anti-government insurgents, according to officials, have laid down arms and given up militancy in Afghanistan over the past one year, a claim rejected by Taliban outfit as propaganda.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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