JALALABAD -- The peace process in Nangarhar Province is continuing to bring in Taliban and "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) militants who have decided to end their fight against the Afghan government and people.
A total of 15 former Taliban and ISIS militants laid down their weapons and joined the peace process April 10 in Jalalabad.
The militants surrendered their weapons at provincial National Directorate of Security headquarters and expressed regret for their past terrorist activities.
"Ten of them are Taliban and five others are ISIS militants who under their two commanders joined this [peace] process," Haji Jan Mohammad, a member of the Nangarhar Provincial Peace Council, said at a ceremony marking the two groups' surrender.
"Before, these insurgents were busy with anti-government activities in Pacheragam, Kot, Khogyani, Rodat, Nazian, Haska Mina and Achin districts," he said.
The two commanders also informed officials that they are in contact with other militants who plan to join the peace process soon.
Fighting against Afghans' interests
Saar Mohammad, the leader of the five-member ISIS group, said his group received orders from foreign masterminds.
"They were telling us to destroy schools and hospitals," he told reporters. "At first, we did those things, but later on I realised [the orders were against the interests of Afghanistan], and we started rejecting their orders, so we came and joined the peace process."
"They were giving us a lot of money... They were paying our family expenses too," he said. "First, they took us to Pakistan and trained us there; then they sent us here to fight."
Mohammed said his group had been carrying out destructive activities in Kot District. He expressed his desire to return to a normal life and pledged to work for the government and his country.
"I spent a long time in the [Taliban], but they destroy our country and our future," said Sanaullah, commander of the 10-member Taliban group and a resident of Rodat District who has spent seven years in the Taliban's ranks.
Taliban, ISIS losses mount
A total of 861 militants have joined the peace process over the past few years in Nangarhar Province. Most were from the Taliban and others were ISIS fighters, according to the Provincial Peace Council.
"I made great efforts to bring these people to the peace process, and I am still doing it," Haji Hayat Khan, head of the popular anti-militant uprising in Kot District, told reporters.
Khan called on other insurgents to stop killing their brothers and destroying their country and to join the peace process. "It is a good step," he said.
Military operations have weakened ISIS in Nangarhar Province and now no more than 1,000 ISIS members remain in the province, Nangarhar Governor Mohammad Gulab Mangal told Salaam Times April 8.
Previously ISIS considered Nangarhar the capital of its Khorasan branch, he said.
"But now [Nangarhar] has turned into its graveyard, and ISIS has a presence only in remote and limited areas of five districts," Mangal said. "Operations are continuing against them, and God willing, the group will soon [be removed] from this soil."