FAIZABAD, Afghanistan, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- A total of 60 Taliban rebels gave up fighting and joined the government- initiated peace and reconciliation process in the northern province of Badakhshan, a provincial government spokesman said on Thursday.
"Sixty Taliban fighters renounced violence and handed over their weapons to security authorities in Jurm district earlier Thursday," spokesman Ahmad Nawid Frotan told Xinhua.
Two local insurgent leaders named Enayatullah and Abbas were among those who resumed normal lives in the province, 315 km northeast of national capital Kabul, the source added.
With the former insurgents' surrender, peace and stability would be further strengthened in several parts of the mountainous province, he noted.
The Afghan government set up a 70-member High Peace Council and launched the peace and reconciliation process in 2010 to encourage Taliban to disarm and give up militancy against the government.
More than 4,000 Taliban militants, according to officials, have laid down arms and joined the government-backed peace process over the past year, but the claim has been rejected by the armed outfit as baseless.