Afghan pacifist protesters arrive in Kabul exhausted and tired of the war

KABUL (Reuters) – Hundreds of Afghan pacifist protesters arrived exhausted on Monday in the capital, Kabul, after spending the month of Ramadan fasting across the war-torn and war-ravaged country, largely under Taliban control .

Afghan pacifist protesters arrive in Kabul, Afghanistan on June 18, 2018. REUTERS / Mohammad Ismail

Protesters, all men, including teachers, students and victims of war with crutches and one in a wheelchair, They were greeted on the way by women from the village carrying the Holy Quran, men singing and dancing or offering bread and yogurt, some crying.

"I saw and learned things that I had never thought of before," said Iqbal Khayber, 27, a medical student at Helmand.

"We met people in areas controlled by the Taliban and in areas under government control, they are all really tired of the war."

The march was triggered by a car bomb in Helmand on March 23 that killed at least 14 people and injured dozens. No group claims responsibility.

Khayber said the protesters, who vary in number from day to day, would take the main roads and sometimes turn into villages, purposely choosing dangerous areas to try to deal with people's fear.

"We saw people suffering a lot because of war … Honestly, my conscience does not allow me to calm down, it hurts me and I wonder: why do not we start working for peace before?"

Afghan pacifist protesters arrive to Kabul, Afghanistan on June 18, 2018. REUTERS / Mohammad Ismail

Before Ramadan, protesters walked 30 to 35 km (18 to 20 miles) per day, but during the fasting month, when they could not take food or water during the day, they decreased their speed from 20 to 25 km per day.

In an area of ​​Ghazni province, the Taliban told them not to enter an area because it was too dangerous.

"We met with Taliban fighters and after a presentation, they told us that we should not have come because the area is strewn with bombs and that they had planned an attack."

"After a few minutes of discussion with them, they seemed tired of everything, and of war. They directed us back to the safest area. "

Slideshow (7 Images)


In Ghazni on Sunday, the Taliban took six soldiers hostage, the governor's office said on Monday.The Taliban denied the accusation and They said that the six had deserted.An acting district governor in Nangarhar province in the east was killed on Monday.The Taliban claimed responsibility.

Mohammad Yasin Omid, 24, a teacher from the province of Zabul, said who joined the march on his 21st.

"The group had already walked for 15 days. When I saw his bleeding and blistering feet, I could not control my tears, so I decided to join them. "

The Taliban struggle to drive out foreign forces, defeat the US-backed government and restore sharia, or law Islamic, after its expulsion from the forces led by the United States in 2001.

But Afghanistan has been at war for four decades, since the Soviet invasion in 1979.

Both the government and the militants declared a ceasefire temporary for the end of Ramadan Eid al-Fitr on vacation, leading to hugs and selfies between the two sides as militants emerged from their hiding places to enter towns and cities.

The Taliban ceasefire ended on Sunday. The government extended its ceasefire with the Taliban, which was due to end on Wednesday, June 20, for 10 days.

The pacifist protesters, many of whom were taken to the hospital. To receive treatment for dehydration and blisters, they said they would not stop in Kabul.

"We received the support of the people in Kabul as we expected," said dealer Badshah Khan.

"Now we'll have to sit in tents and continue walking to other provinces to get more support."

Written by Nick Macfie; Edition by Robert Birsel


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