Brave peace march to Taliban stronghold

The People's Peace Movement hopes to be more successful than US negotiators, challenging scorching temperatures during Ramadan fasting. Local sources report that four marchers have been abducted by the Taliban.

Kabul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A group of 30 people, a child and a dog from The People’s Peace Movement is walking towards a Taliban-held area in Afghanistan, calling for peace.

The group left Lashkar Gah, capital of the southern province of Helmand, last Thursday, embarking on a march of 150 kilometres to Musa Qala, a Taliban stronghold in the north of the region.

Many of them are also fasting for the holy month of Ramadan in daytime temperatures that hover around 40 degrees Celsius.

The People’s Peace Movement was founded in March 2018 in reaction to a bloody attack that killed 16 people in Lashkar Gah. The brave participants are marching in one of the most dangerous areas of the world.

The goal is one of the noblest: Act as peacemakers hoping to end the conflict that has gone on for 18 years and overcome the failure of talks between extremists and the United States.

So far, the group has been greeted with cries of joy in the villages it has travelled through. The Taliban remain the biggest obstacle though as the militant group suspects foreign powers are behind the march and have wasted no time to threaten the marchers.

“We will not allow them to enter our territories,” Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, said Sunday. In fact, Taliban militants have already seized and taken four members of the People’s Peace Movement to an unknown location.

The others are staying put in the Nawzadrod area, pledging not to resume their march until the four are released. One of the latter is Bismillah Watandost, who led a similar march last year.

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