Security

7 ISIS fighters join peace process in Nangarhar

By Khalid Zerai

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ISIS members surrender their weapons at the local National Directorate of Security office October 16 in Jalalabad, Nangarhar Province. [National Directorate of Security]

JALALABAD -- Seven "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) fighters previously active in Achin and Nazian districts of Nangarhar Province have joined the peace process, local officials told Salaam Times.

Dozens of other ISIS fighters have joined the peace process or surrendered in Nangarhar in recent months.

"The seven-member group led by commander Niaz Gul fought alongside ISIS against the government for the past two years," Ataullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor, told Salaam Times.

"Today they surrendered following efforts made by the National Directorate of Security," he said Monday (October 16).

ISIS has been defeated in Nangarhar Province, making it necessary for its members either to join the peace process or to surrender, Khogyani said.

Having these fighters join the peace process "will encourage other armed individuals to join the peace process", he said.

Feeble support for ISIS

"We considered all those who work for the government as apostates, but later on we realised that we were destroying our own country and that we should not do so," Niaz Gul, the commander of the ISIS group, told Salaam Times.

"For this reason, we contacted the commander of the local police and we came to surrender," he said.

"We have encouraged a number of ISIS fighters to join the peace process," he said. "They might join soon."

There is little public support for ISIS in Nangarhar, and popular uprisings are keeping the militants at bay.

"ISIS has killed a large number of my relatives; it destroyed our houses, seated civilians on bombs and martyred them, so we do not want ISIS," Qayum Khan, a resident of Achin District, told Salaam Times. "We want our own Islamic republic."

"We do not want ISIS -- those who are fighting have to give up and join the peace process, or otherwise the government must kill and destroy them," said Malak Kamin, a tribal chief from the same district.

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