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'We Want Peace,' Say Afghan Amputee Marchers

The amputees defied scorching summer heat as well as the risk of roadside bombs and militant attacks to begin their journey on August 7. (illustrative photo)

Twenty amputees have kicked off a trek of more than 600 kilometers across Afghanistan to call for an end to the country's 17-year war.

The marchers, some on crutches and others in wheelchairs, began their journey on August 7 from the western city of Herat to the Afghan capital, Kabul, defying scorching summer heat and the risk of roadside bombs and militant attacks.

"We want peace, we want a normal life, we want to work and serve our country," Mahmud Majruh, a member of the so-called peace convoy, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan.

"People are being killed every single day in every region of our country. We want all sides of the conflict -- the government, the Taliban, and the others involved -- to negotiate, to come to an agreement, to make peace," Majruh added.

"They must stop the war to prevent more deaths and destruction,” said another peace activist who identified himself as Murtaza.

"We lost our limbs, and we don’t want it to happen to our children, to our next generation," he also said.

The march kicks off weeks after a group of Afghan peace activists walked 700 kilometers from the southern city of Lashkar Gah to Kabul, most of it during the fasting month of Ramadan.

Afghan Peace March Reaches Kabul
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The Helmand Peace Convoy reached the capital June 18 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 government is expected to announce another truce coinciding with the three-day Eid-al-Adha festival later in August.

The Western-backed government has been struggling to fend off the Taliban and other militant groups since the withdrawal of most NATO troops in 2014.

The Taliban has ignored an offer by the government of direct peace negotiations.

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