About 11 militant groups, including 80 fighters, on Tuesday laid down their arms and joined the peace process in Badghis province, local officials said.
The militants had been operating in Jawand district in the province for the past eight years, officials added.
One of the fighters who was previously loyal to Taliban said: “People from different groups were among the Taliban. Their acts were completely against what they said and preached. Everyone was working for their own interests. Jihad and fighting for Islam were just by name,” said Mawlawi Ahmad, a former member of Taliban.
Another member of the Taliban, Mullah Asif said: “When I was with the Taliban I saw that everything is under the control of Pakistan’s intelligence agency [Inter-Services Intelligence] and that they [Taliban] don’t have any authority to make decisions on their own. Their leadership is also under the control of
Pakistan; therefore, I decided to join government and peace.”
Meanwhile, Badghis governor Mohammad Anwar Ishaqzai said they welcome the move by the fighters and that they believe that it will help improve security in the province.
He added that he expects connecting roads between Jawand and the provincial capital Qala-e-Nawtoreopen after 14 years – following the surrender of the insurgent groups.
“The joining of 80 Taliban fighters with the peace process is a good step and I am sure that security will improve in Jawand following this move.” he added.
Ishaqzai said that roughly 1,500 insurgents are active in the province and are fighting against government but according to recent figures, over 2,000 insurgentshave joined the peace process so far.
The High Peace Council office in Badghis meanwhile vowed to provide the fighters with required assistance and employment opportunities.
According to reports, most of the weapons that were handed over to government by the fighters are old and are not working. The militants that join the process reportedly keep their main weapons with them.