Afghan Peace Marchers Detained By Taliban, Supporters Say
Afghan peace protesters who went missing after marching through a Taliban-controlled area of Helmand Province have been detained by the militants, a supporter of the movement told RFE/RL on June 5.
The so-called People’s Peace Movement (PPM) attracted international attention last year with its peace marches across Afghanistan and in Kabul during which they warned about the record levels of violence across the country.
PPM member Bacha Khan Muladad told RFE/RL on June 5 that there is no news about the fates of 25 of their friends who traveled to the Taliban stronghold of Musa Qala, some 130 kilometers from the provincial capital of Laskar Gah four days ago in an attempt to meet with militants and plead with them to seek peace.
Almost 4,000 civilians — including more than 900 children — were killed in Afghanistan last year, with more than 7,000 wounded, according to the United Nations, making 2018 the deadliest year on record.
After 18 years of war, the Taliban and the United States have held several rounds of peace talks, but an agreement still appears far off, mainly because the militants refuse to hold negotiations with the Afghan government.