06/06/2019, 16.37
AFGHANISTAN
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Taliban release Afghan peace activists they had abducted

Members of of the People's Peace Movement were marching in Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold, in order to carry a message of peace to the whole country. Since March 2018, pacifists have travelled 1,700 kilometres.

Kabul (AsiaNews) – The members of the People's Peace Movement "(PPM) seized by the Taliban a few days ago are free.

"My comrades are doing well! Now they are with me. My friends are back," said Bacha Khan Muladad, spokesman for the Afghan peace group, speaking to AsiaNews.

The group of about 25 people, was marching in the area under the control of the extremist group, carrying a message of peace. They set off on foot with a dog and a child on 30 May from Lashkar Gah, the capital of the southern province of Helmand on their way to Musa Qala, a Taliban stronghold, a distance of about 150 kilometres, in temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius, all they while fasting for Ramadan.

The Taliban seized four members of the group on Monday near ​​Nawzadrod, not far from their destination. As a result of this, the marchers did not continue their walk. Muladad said that his group did not want to "abandon their friends and would not resume the march without them". In the end, the whole group fell into the hands of kidnappers.

The reason behind the group’s initiative was that "We want to shout out loud" peace. The world must know that the people of Afghanistan want peace, not war. We want to live in a good country, which is like many others where people live happily. We want our children to receive a good education. We hope that peace returns and we are working towards this goal."

The "People's Peace Movement" was created in March 2018 after an attack that killed 16 people in Lashkar Gah. In just over a year its members have travelled 1,700 kilometers across the country.

Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, oppressed first by a brutal Taliban regime (1996-2001) and then 18 years of war.  According to United Nations data, last year about 4,000 civilians were killed, including 900 children, and another 7,000 were wounded in violent incidents.

According to UNICEF, attacks on schools tripled in 2018. As a result, at least 3.7 million children between the ages of 7 and 17 (i.e. half of all school-age population) do not attend classes. This means that a whole generation is at risk of illiteracy.

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