Taliban fighters have peacefully withdrawn from an Afghan province near the border with Iran, but they retain control of their southern stronghold of Kandahar, an Afghan tribal representative said Monday.

A group of ethnic Pashtun tribal elders who opposed the Islamic militia persuaded the Taliban to pull out of western Farah province over the weekend, said spokesman Mohammed Yusuf Pashtun.

The report could not be independently confirmed. If true, it would signal progress for Pashtun leaders who have been trying to remove the Taliban from the remaining areas of Afghanistan under their control.

``We have taken over from the Taliban in a peaceful manner'' in Farah, said Pashtun, a spokesman for a tribal faction led by Gul Agha Shirzai.