A former Taliban militant who officially renounced his armed struggle earlier this week said his reasoning for leaving the battlefield was because he was tired of fighting.
The former Taliban fighter, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retribution from the insurgency, officially joined the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program (APRP) during a ceremony at the Ghor Governor's compound in Chaghcharan district on Monday, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a press release.
British Maj. Gen. David Hook, Director of ISAF's reintegration cell, attended the ceremony and noted that one of the reasons the nearly 4,600 militants who re-integrated into the civilian community gave for joining the APRP was that they were worn-out on the battlefield because of the unrelenting military pressure being exerted on them by the Afghan National Security Force and ISAF.
The APRP is an Afghan government peace program designed, implemented, and executed by Afghans to provide a way for insurgents who want to stop fighting and rejoin their communities with honor and dignity.
Four Taliban commanders -- Mawlawi Ahmad Shah, Mawlawi Abdul Karim, Habillah and Mawlawi Ahmad -- and nearly 120 of the militant cadres men committed to renounce violence, sever all ties with the insurgency, and abide by the Constitution of Afghanistan.
Mawlawi Ahmad Shah spoke at the ceremony on behalf of the former insurgents and said all those still fighting should renounce violence and join the peace process. "I urge you to lay down your weapons and try to live a peaceful and normal life," said Shah.
He thanked the High Peace Council members and the Afghan National Army for their guidance and support through their transition from the battlefield back to their communities.
The militants turned in their heavy weapons including rocket launchers, machine guns and various types of unexploded ordnance routinely used for improvised explosive devices as a sign of their commitment to peace and rebuilding Afghanistan.
Another ex-miltant who attended the ceremony said that while he was still opposed to the presence of international forces in his country, his decision to join the APRP was based on the timetable for the draw-down of NATO forces by 2014.
"Now that Islamic and un-Islamic countries are standing by us, we should take advantage of this opportunity and build our country," said Aziz Ahmadzai, Director of Operations for the Joint Secretariat. "We are one of the most fortunate nations to have this opportunity," according to him.
Dr. Abdullah Haiwad, Ghor's provincial Governor, presented the re-integrees with a copy of the holy Quran and traditional chapan coats as they handed over their weapons.
Internationally funded, the APRP is supported through donations from 12 nations, of which Japan is the largest donor giving $52 million in 2012.
by RTT Staff Writer
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