KABUL, July 20 (Xinhua) -- More than 300 Taliban fighters have quit the armed outfit and handed over their weapons to local authorities in the northern Samangan and western Badghis provinces.
In a move widely welcomed by the Afghan government and people, a total of 260 Taliban militants gave up fighting and handed over their weapons to local authorities in Dara-e-Suf district of the northern Samangan province on Tuesday and vowed to defend the government against insurgents.
The former militants led by Raes Ibrahim, Mullah Almas and Mullah Faisal, after years of fighting against government in parts of Samangan province, gave up fighting and surrendered to authorities in a ceremony attended by civil and military officials on Tuesday.
Speaking to the audience, Raes Ibrahim said foreign nationals' dominant role in the local outfit and their barbaric acts against locals was a stigma for him and he therefore decided to surrender to the government.
Assuring his support to the government, the former Taliban commander vowed to defend the establishment against foreign insurgent fighters.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim called upon the government to build roads, clinics and schools, and provide job opportunities to the local people, which he said would make it harder for the Taliban outfit to recruit fighters.
"To be frank we are fed up with the presence of foreign nationals dominating the local Taliban group," another former Taliban commander, Mullah Almas told Xinhua.
He also said that militants from "foreign countries are in command of Taliban fighters and committing atrocities against locals."
On the same day, 11 Taliban groups comprising 80 fighters laid down their arms and joined the government-backed peace process in Jawand district of the western Badghis province.
More than 10,000 armed militants have renounced the violence and joined the government-initiated reconciliation process across the country over the last six years, according to Afghan High Peace Council officials.