Afghan peace marchers start new move as US resumes talks with Taliban

Afghan peace marchers, also known as People Peace Movement (PPM), have started a new move titled “from Helmand to Helmand” aimed at encouraging the warring parties for holding a “ceasefire”, making peace, and ending the war in Afghanistan.

The PPM spokesperson, Besmillah Watandost, told Kabul Now that this time their peace convoy had started traveling across the country by car. According to him, the move was started yesterday, December 08, from the southern Helmand province and would end to the same province.

“We will travel to Ghor province from Helmand and then to Badghis, Herat, Nimroz, and to southern, eastern, central, and northern provinces,” Watandost added.

The non-violent protest which caught national and international attentions was primarily started after a devastating suicide attack targeted an open-air wrestling match in Lashkargah, capital city of Helmand province, during Afghan New Year festivities in March 2018.

Members of the PPM marched across 25 provinces in the country calling the warring parties to hold ceasefire, make peace, and end the 40 years of violence in Afghanistan.

During their long-lasting marches, they held rallies for days in front of some governmental institutions, international organizations, foreign embassies, and also in some important areas controlled by the Taliban.

Afghan peace marchers restart their peace movement as the United States has resumed talks with the Taliban in Doha, three months after the US President Donald Trump immediately called off the direct US-Taliban talks in Qatar.

According to the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, the two sides were “at the threshold” of signing a peace agreement.

Citing a spokesperson for the US Department of State, Aljazeera reported on Saturday, December 07, that the focus of discussion between the Taliban and the United States will be reduction of violence that leads to intra-Afghan negotiations and a ceasefire.

Meanwhile, Suhail Shaheen, who is Taliban spokesperson for the group’s political office in Qatar, tweeted on the same day that the US-Taliban talks were resumed from where it was halted.