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40 more Taliban militants surrender in Afghan province

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Kabul: Forty Taliban militants have surrendered to Afghan National Army in the country’s western province of Ghor amid military pressure in the mountainous region, Afghan Ministry of Defence confirmed on Wednesday.

“About 40 Taliban militants laid down arms and gave up fighting in Shahrak district of western Ghor province on Tuesday,” the ministry said in a statement.

The latest surrendering came as a joint cleanup and search operation conducted by Afghan army, police and intelligence agency personnel has been continuing in Shahrak, Xinhua news agency reported.

About 150 Taliban surrendered to army in Shahrak over the past weeks, according to the statement.

The statement said the former militants found out that “Taliban militants are fighting to harm Afghans so they decided to quit that wrong pathway and join the pace and reconciliation process.”

The surrendered militants also handed over their weapons.

More than 350 armed insurgents have surrendered to local authorities as government forces geared up crackdowns on militants across the country since January.

The militant groups haven’t responded to the reports so far.

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Nirbhaya convicts to be hanged on March 3 at 6 a.m.

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New Delhi: The four death-row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case will now be hanged on March 3 at 6 a.m., a local court announced here on Monday.

Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana pronounced the order on a petition seeking issuance of fresh date for the execution of death warrants in the case pertaining to the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in the national capital in December 2012.

Expressing satisfaction over the latest court order, Nirbhaya’s mother said, “I’m satisfied and happy. I hope the convicts will finally be hanged on March 3,” Asha Devi told mediapersons.

The case pertains to the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old girl in the national capital in December 2012.

On January 31, a trial court had stayed “till further order” the execution of the four convicts — Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Kumar Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar (31).

Of the four convicts, Pawan has not yet availed the remedy of either curative petition or mercy plea.

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