Five killed in Taliban attack in Afghanistan

Kabul, Dec 31 (IANS) Five militants were killed and nine others injured when a 200-strong group of militants intending to surrender to the authorities came under attack in northern Afghanistan’s Jawzjan province Wednesday, police said.

“Some 200 Taliban militants who were going to lay down arms and surrender to the government in Jawzjan province were ambushed by a group of Taliban in Qush Tepa district this morning. As a result, five were killed and nine others injured,” xinhua quoted police officer Abdul Manan Raufi as telling reporters.
A local former Taliban commander, Qari Alutfullah, who wanted to lay down arms, is among those killed in the attack, said the officer.
Raufi said another 200-member group of Taliban militants, which was involved in militancy over the past couple of years, laid down arms and surrendered to the government in Jawzjan province Wednesday afternoon.
“Up to 200 insurgents gave up fighting and joined the government-backed peace process in the provincial capital of Sheberghan Wednesday and a ceremony to welcome them is under way,” Raufi said.
“The former rebels were active in Darzab and Qush Tepa districts over the past couple of years,” the official said.
Faqir Mohammad Jawzjani, police chief of the Jawzjan province, welcomed the former militants’ decision to lay down arms, saying that it would encourage other Taliban militants to follow the step and help the government stabilise security across the country.
According to the police officer, Afghan First Vice-President Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum is presently visiting the northern provinces of Jawzjan and the neighbouring Faryab and Sari Pul provinces to encourage Taliban militants to give up fighting and resume normal life.