| GEO World|
| Amnesty for 60 Taliban: Afghan govt|
| Updated at: 2110 PST, Tuesday, February 17, 2009|
KABUL: The Afghan government announced Tuesday it had given amnesty to nearly 60 Taliban fighters who had agreed to lay down their weapons, as some of them claimed they were misled into jihad or "holy war".
The men who received amnesty from the government's Commission for Peace and
Reconciliation were the latest of nearly 7,680 over the past three years to agree to not fight the government, a commission official said.
It comes after President Hamid Karzai again called last week at a security conference in Germany for Taliban who are not part of Al-Qaeda to give up the insurgency against his government, backed by thousands of foreign soldiers.
Most of the men in the latest group covered their faces with large Afghan shawls at a ceremony at which they handed certificates of amnesty in return for pledges to not fight.
The head of the commission, former Afghan president Sebghatullah Mujaddedi, urged them to stand by their commitment and not return to the militants, adding that the fighting was hurting mainly civilians.