Twenty-four Taliban militants, including a group commander, have surrendered to Afghan government in south province of Kandahar, a local official said Sunday.
The group of insurgents, fighting the government for the past four years, laid down their arms on Saturday in Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar, a known birthplace of Taliban, chief of the district Abidullah told Xinhua .
The Karzai administration has been calling on the militants to lay down arms and join the government's efforts in restoration of peace and reconstruction in the war-torn country.
In a recent development, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, in an interview with the New York Times, had urged U.S. forces to stop arresting suspected Taliban and their sympathizers, arguing that the arrests and past mistreatment were discouraging Taliban from laying down their arms.
The U.S.-led Coalition forces Sunday said that during a search operation for a Taliban militant on Saturday in Tag Ab district of Kapisa province, north of the capital Kabul, they entered into a clash with an unknown number of militants and killed several "anti-Afghan" militants.
There were several civilian casualties during the battle, during which Afghan National Security Forces also provided reinforcements, the military said in a statement, without elaborating.