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Former Taliban Commander Joins Forces With Afghan Government

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 8, 2005 – A former Taliban sub-commander of the Paktika province has renounced violence against the government of Afghanistan, further fragmenting the Taliban command structure in eastern Afghanistan, military officials said.

Mullah Hajji Jalani formally joined the Program Takhim-E-Sohl Aug. 4. A ceremony honoring his decision will be held Aug. 9.

The terrorist cell he was formerly associated with has been accused of conducting and planning a variety of attacks against the Afghan people, the Afghan government, and Afghan and coalition forces.

"The fact that Mullah Hajji Jalani has joined with the government of Afghanistan is a positive sign Afghanistan is moving in the right direction," said Army Brig. Gen. James G. Champion, Combined Joint Task Force 76 deputy commanding general. "It's a sign the government of this country is making real and measurable progress toward better security and a brighter future. Mullah Hajji Jalani has realized this and has joined with the government to make Afghanistan a better place for all who live here."

As a result of Jalani's decision to enroll in the program, another 12 former Taliban loyalists have come forward in that province seeking more information on the program and have expressed interest in enrolling.

The PTS program is a tool the government of Afghanistan uses to encourage former Taliban regime members to renounce violence and join with the government to build a more secure country. During the past six months, more then 100 former regime members have joined the program.

(From a Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news release.)

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