RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan
June 18, 2018
Afghan peace activists have arrived in Kabul after trekking some 700 kilometers on foot calling for an end to Afghanistan’s nearly 17-year war.
The Helmand Peace Convoy reached the Afghan capital on the morning of June 18 after traveling for almost 40 days, chanting slogans including “We want peace” and “Stop the war.”
The march kicked off in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province, which is largely under Taliban control.
It began with a group of nine men and picked up around 40 supporters during the journey.
The participants arrived in Kabul following a three-day truce between the Taliban and government forces coinciding with the Eid al-Fitr holiday that ends the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The Kabul government extended its cease-fire by 10 days, but the Taliban said that they would resume their attacks.
Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanesh said there had been fighting in nine provinces since the end of the Taliban’s cease-fire, with 12 soldiers killed or wounded, the AFP news agency reported.
In the eastern province of Nangarhar, gunmen shot and killed a district governor, said Attahullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but Khogyani blamed the Taliban.
Nangarhar Province was hit by two suicide bombings over the weekend that targeted gatherings of Afghan security forces, Taliban militants, and civilians who were celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday and the cease-fire.
The Islamic State extremist group, which was not included in the government’s cease-fire, claimed responsibility for one of the bombings.
Also on June 18, Radmanesh told RFE/RL that several thousand Taliban militants who had entered Kabul and other Afghan cities during the three-day truce agreed to stop the fighting against government forces.
With reporting by Tolo News, AFP, and AP