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More than 1,700 Taliban give up their arms

May 20, 2011

‘More than 1,700 former Taliban combatants have turned in their weapons to join a reintegration program started by the Afghan government nearly a year ago, the NATO general in charge of the program said Thursday’ reports AFP on the Yahoo News site.

“So far we’ve got about 1,740 former fighters who have formally joined the reintegration process,” said British Major General Phil Johns, the director of the Force Reintegration Cell of the International Security Assistance Force.

“On top of this, the High Peace Council has at least another 40 to 45 groups in negotiations across the country,” said Johns, referring to the Afghan agency in charge of political reconciliation.

Taliban fighters peacefully surrender their arms during a meeting with Afghan government officials as part of the government's peace and reintegration process in Kandahar in Apr 11. Photo: ISAF Regional Command (South)/AFP

“That may be as much as 2,000 fighters,” added Johns, who was talking to reporters in Washington via teleconference from Kabul. The peace process provides amnesty to former Taliban members who agree to renounce violence, sever ties with terrorist groups, and live under the Afghan constitution, said Johns.

The Afghan insurrection is composed mostly of Taliban fighters and members of the Haqqani network, which total around 25,000 men, he said. Most of the time, a Taliban chief, accompanied by several men or sometimes several dozen men, decide to give up fighting. These are life-changing decisions that people are making, and it is all built on trust and confidence,” said Johns.

To read the full story on the Yahoo News website click HERE, or on the image above.

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