|A group of Taliban militants attend a surrender ceremony in Laghman province, eastern Afghanistan on August 27, 2013. A total of 16 anti-government militants laid down arms and joined the government-backed peace process on Tuesday in Laghman province. (Xinhua/Tahir Safi)
MEHTERLAM, Afghanistan, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- Seventeen Taliban militants including a key commander laid down arm and joined the government-backed peace process in the eastern Laghman province 90 km east of Kabul on Tuesday, spokesman for the provincial government Sarhadi Zawak said.
"A 17-member armed Taliban rebels headed by commander Hazratullah Bombar laid down their arms and joined the peace process in the provincial capital Mehterlam city today," Zawak told Xinhua.
The former militants also handed their weapons to the local authorities, he added.
Describing the surrender as a big blow to the Taliban militants, the official added that Hazratullah Bombar along with his men was active in Badpakh district and Tangi Abrisham area on Kabul- Jalalabad highway.
He also said commander Bombar's surrender would enable security forces to further improve the security of Kabul-Jalalabad highway and strengthen the government control in Badpakh and adjoining areas.
Taliban militants fighting the government have yet make comment.