Kabul: A total of 18 militants handed over their weapons to police in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province on Saturday.

“Today 18 dissident brothers who were engaged in anti-government activities in Shinwar district and on Torkham-Jalalabad road over the past few years, laid down arms and gave up fighting,” Hajji Malik Nazir, head of the peace commission in Nangarhar, said at a ceremony to welcome the former militants held at provincial capital Jalalabad, 120 km east of Kabul .

“With these people joining the peace process, security will further improve in Nangarhar province,” Xinhua news agency quoted the official as saying.

Taliban militants fighting the government are yet to comment on the development.

More than 4,000 militants, according to Afghan officials, have given up fighting and joined the government-backed peace process over the past one year, a claim rebuffed by the Taliban as baseless.