Fifty militants, including a Taliban key commander, surrendered to Afghan authorities in Badghis province on Sunday, a police spokesman said.

“A total of 50 Taliban insurgents under Taliban key commander Mullah Toofan laid down arms and surrendered to the authorities in Qadis district today,” the spokesman told Xinhua news agency.

Mullah Toofan commanded 300 fighters in Qadis over the past few years.

His surrender would prove a major setback to the Taliban in the province and adjoining areas.

Afghanistan is going through one of its bloodiest phases since the end of NATO’s combat mission in January 2015.

A UN report stated the number of Afghan civilians killed in the first six months of this year has reached a record high.

The Taliban are fighting to expel foreign forces from Afghanistan and to impose strict Islamic law in the country, which they had done before their removal by US-led forces in 2001.

The Taliban has so far refrained to participate in any form of Afghan-led and owned negotiations although President Ghani earlier made bold proposals to encourage the group for the talks.

A UN report stated the number of Afghan civilians killed in the first six months of this year has reached a record high.