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Low-level Taliban leader surrenders in Afghanistan

Spanish troops patrol Badghis province.

Adnkronos International reports (via Pajhwok) that a Taliban commander in the northwestern province of Badghis has surrendered:

A rebel commander, has laid down his arms in western Badghis province. Mullah Salam said he decided to renounce militancy, accusing Taliban fighters of targeting civilians, Afghan news agency Pajhwok reported.

Badghis police chief Brig. Gen. Syed Ahmad Sami, told Pajhwok that Salam surrendered with an ally named Mullah Bahauddin.

The commander handed over to police personnel an RPG-7, a rocket launcher and a machine gun. Salam was a sub-commander of Maulvi Abdul Qudoos, the Taliban commander in Dara-i-Bum area of Badghis' Maqur district.

Anti-terrorism officials have remained in contact with other Taliban fighters who are allegedly on the point of switching sides, Gen. Sami said.

This is a small victory, but a victory nonetheless, for Afghan and Coalition forces. Mullah Salam is a low-level Taliban leader; he is basically a sub-commander within a district in Badghis province. The security situation has slowly deteriorated over the past two years in Badghis as the Taliban has sought to re-open the northwestern front in Badghis and neighboring Herat province. If the Afghan government and NATO want to defeat the Taliban, low-level commanders like Salam will have to be won over.