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Taliban Official Joins Kabul's Reconciliation Program

Washington, 22 April 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A former provincial governor during the Taliban regime has accepted the Afghan government's reconciliation offer, Peshawar-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) reported on 21 April.

Governor Sher Mohammad of the southern Helmand Province told AIP on 21 April that "former Taliban governor, Mohammad Nasim, joined the government after talks" held on 20 April.

Neo-Taliban spokesman Mufti Latifollah Hakimi confirmed the fact that Mullah Mohammad Nasim did serve "for some time" as the governor of Zabul Province," adding that since the demise of the Taliban regime he had not been in contact with the resurgent Taliban elements -- or the neo-Taliban.

According to AIP, the acceptance of the truce offer from Kabul by Mohammad Nasim and earlier by "key" commander Ra'is Abdul Wahed can be "considered a major success for the local administration in Helmand."

Helmand and its neighboring Kandahar, Oruzgan, and Zabul provinces are considered the hotbed of the neo-Taliban insurgency.