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Helmand residents rally for peace; asked for truce

AT News Report

KABUL: A large number of Helmand residents and activists took to the streets on Monday to give vent to their anger over continuing intensive fight with strongly denounced Taliban’s spring offensive as well as the government.

They demonstrators, where a large number of women were among them, staged demonstration in Lashkargha, the provincial capital city of Helmand province, where they strongly condemned spring offensive announcement and called for a comprehensive ceasefire to end the longest war in the country. Hinting toward last year’s ceasefire, they asked for another truce to be announced in Ramadan.

It was in June of last year, when the Afghan government and the Taliban group agreed on a three-day ceasefire which was widely welcomed by Afghans. The Helmand residents said a similar ceasefire should be announced in the coming Ramadan but this time it should be longer.

The Taliban extremist group on April 12 announced their spring offensive “Alfatha,”, but it has been widely condemned by Afghan and US officials, who are making all out efforts to end the war through a negotiation process.

Members of the rally said the two sides should announce a ceasefire in the coming Ramadhan to honor the “sacred month”, TOLONews reported.

“We are calling for a ceasefire once again and we condemn both the (spring) operations,” said a rally member.

Another Helmand resident said, “those women who have attended the rally have lost their sons either in pro-Taliban and anti-Taliban fights and they want a ceasefire as they have been tired of war”.

The women, who attended the rally, carried photos of their loved ones who they have lost in the war and violence.

Sitara, a given name, a Helmand resident, said she lost her husband in a battle and that she has attended the rally to prevent her fate to other women.

“We have lost our loved ones. I have nothing but I have to grow my children,” she was quoted by TOLONews as saying.

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