Surrendered Taliban fighters in Faryab foresee 'life of dignity'

By Hedayatullah


Taliban militants surrender their arms to local authorities August 11 in  Maimana, Faryab Province. [Twitter/Naqibullah Faiq] 

KUNDUZ -- A 10-man Taliban group in Faryab Province has laid down its arms and joined the peace process as intra-Afghan talks appear imminent.

The former fighters were involved in militant activities over the past five years, especially along the Faryab-Jawzjan highway.

On Tuesday (August 11), they handed over their weapons to local authorities in Maimana during a ceremony marking their surrender.

"We did not experience a single happy day in the last five years. Every moment we thought that we would be killed in the war and that our children would become orphans," Mullah Ezatullah, a resident of Khwaja Sabz Posh District, Faryab Province, told reporters while handing over his weapons.

"After the conclusion of the first round of peace talks, we decided to lay down our weapons before [intra-Afghan talks] take place and to live under the tricolour flag of our government," said Ezatullah, who is also known as Mubarez.

"We are very optimistic that peace will happen after the intra-Afghan talks," he said. "The majority of the Taliban are tired of war and prefer peace over war" and "count down every second for peace to come".

Ezatullah urged his former comrades no longer to be deceived by foreigners.

"I am thrilled to be reuniting with my family after five years and will be embracing my children again," said Mullah Azmatullah Ahadi, a member of the surrendered group.

"Intra-Afghan talks offer a good chance for the Taliban," Ahadi said. "How long should the war and killing of Afghans continue in our country? It is enough."

More Taliban fighters will join the peace process in the coming days, he said.

Inclination for peace

Afghan peace talks are expected to begin within days after authorities Monday (August 10) announced that they would soon start releasing a last batch of Taliban prisoners as part of a peace agreement between the United States and the militants.

The surrender of the Taliban group on the eve of the launch of intra-Afghan talks indicates the end of war and violence, Faryab Governor Naqibullah Faiq told reporters during the surrender ceremony.

"This group led by Mullah Ezatullah was active along Highway 1 (Faryab-Jawzjan). It was a strong group -- with its surrender, security threats on this highway will be completely eliminated," Faiq said.

The group handed over seven AK-47s, two rocket-propelled grenades, a pistol and a grenade launcher, among other equipment, he said.

"From today on, no one will bother you. You can visit any part of Faryab you wish to; people will welcome you," he added, while addressing the former fighters.

"The local government has provided public and private schools and even religious schools [madrassas] for your children. We guarantee your security so that you can live a life of dignity beside your families," Faiq said.

No reason for war

"Based on our information, public confidence in the Taliban is dropping in rural areas, [and civilians are] distancing themselves day by day," said Abdul Ahmad Khaliqi, a political activist in Maimana.

"The release of Taliban and security force prisoners by both sides has raised hopes for an end to war and a lasting peace in Afghanistan," he said.

"Both sides are closer to peace now. We are hopeful that there won’t be any reason for war and bloodshed," he said.

The Taliban should use the peace process to lay down their weapons, said Mohammad Hanif Rezayee, a spokesman for the Afghan National Army's 209th Shaheen Corps based in Mazar-e-Sharif.

"We first urge the Taliban to accept the peace process and lead a dignified life; otherwise, security forces will suppress them through military pressure," he warned.

"In the last two months, security forces have tightened the area of operations against the Taliban in northern provinces, especially in Faryab, Jawzjan and Sar-e-Pul, forcing some of them to lay down their arms," he said.

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May Allah guide all of the warring factions to come and begin a life of peace and brotherhood together with their own people. For how long they will continue fighting? They would also have become tired and America also withdraws its forces from Afghanistan. Fighting is no more needed in this country. People from all walks of life should give hands to each other and play their role in reconstruction of the country.


Honorable life is in peace and peaceful coexistence. There won’t be an honorable life in war. War is misery. War is devastation. War leads to the disintegration of the social system. Taliban’s war caused that a number of Taliban fighters became over 40 years old, but have not married yet, because they were twenty years old when they took up arms against the Afghan government and America and have continued fighting up to now, and they haven’t had the opportunity to get married and form a family. Taliban should now realize that the war has been to their loss or disadvantage. Taliban families live in poverty. They should think of their families and have mercy on themselves and their families. They are also human beings and must have a human life. Taliban not only have oppressed themselves and their families, but also have killed thousands of people in the villages and rural areas of Afghanistan. People of the villages do not have a good day because of them. Every day there is war and people migrate.