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Helmand to Kabul; the peace march initiative

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Helmand to Kabul; the peace march initiative
 Protests in Helmand calling for a ceasefire and talks between insurgents and government has entered its second month.The relatives of victims, activists and other residents from Helmand – both men and women – who began a sit-in for peace following a car bomb suicide attack in the provincial capital of Lashkargah in late March 2018 which left dozens of civilians injured or dead,are now taking their initiative a step further. 
Blaming a number of countrymen for spending a huge amount of money onwedding ceremonies and vocations abroad rather than serving their country,the activists have begun a walking trip from Helmand to Kabul with the slogan “we want peace”and now has reached to Kandahar’s Maiwand District.
“The Helmand young activists have referred to a number of local businessmen to do fundraising for their trip, but no one helped. Unfortunately, there are many people who earn money through destruction of the country, but they don’t spend even a single Afghani on its reconstruction,” activist Nisar Ahmad Ahmadi posted on his Facebook page, while criticizing media and officialsfor lack of attention to the move.”This is a move for peace not the one for earning Dollar.”
The demonstration took placeat the time, that the Pashtun Tahafuz (Protection) Movement, which also uses the name parlat (Pashto for ‘sit-in’) and was launched in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, on 1 February 2018 also established sit-ins for their rights. The protestors’ core demand was that the Pakistani security establishment stop the torture and extra-judicial killings of Pashtuns following the high-profile death of a young Pashtun shopkeeper, allegedly at the hands of police in Sindh. That protest lasted until 10 February, when Pakistani authorities promised that it would fulfill the demands within a month. The protestors announced the end of the sit-in but warned of future strikes if their demands were ignored.
This is the first time – in spite of significant risks – that people in southern Afghanistan have publicly, and over a sustained period of time, raised their voices against Taliban violence and mobilized publicly, and with such energy. Even the initial unfavorable response has not made them give up; it has actually strengthened their resolve. This protest is also remarkable insofar as it is happening in an area often described as the ‘heartland of the Taliban’.
It is also clear that the never-ending war has inflicted significant costs to many inhabitants in Helmand province and they are getting more and more tired about this. The protest makes clear that there is dissent due to the Taliban’s violent actions among many in this Pashtun-majority province. 
The Lashkargah stadium bombing has led those who lost their loved ones to raise their voices, take to the streets, protest against the war and ask for peace, put public pressure on the Taliban. The images of Taliban attacks killing innocent civilians that have spread across social media may have contributed to undermining their prestige and raised questions about the legitimacy of their war. 
The Helmand peace initiative and their recent move towards Kabul indicate that people are tired of the fighting and cannot endure further atrocities. As Pashto idiom says: “The power of people is the power of God.” 
Remarkably, the protest has brought together those of Pashtuns and non-Pashtunsto unitedlyraise their voice for peace across the country. People in Parwan, Badakhshan, Kabul, Bamyan and even that of the eastern provinces established sit-ins to support peace initiative of war-hit residents of Helmand Province. The peace activists on both sides claim they want to build civil movements for obtaining basic rights and have expressed commitment to the peaceful pursuit of democratic aims.