Members of the Helmand peace protest on Wednesday vowed to continue their anti-war campaign until their demands for peace are met by the warring sides.
This comes after reports emerged from Helmand that a three-year-old boy reportedly died after thinking his unconscious father, who had been on a hunger strike, had died.
The 29-year-old father, Dr Irfan, was one of at least six protestors hospitalized last week after going on a hunger strike.
“They transferred my son to the Bost hospital, but he lost his life on the way,” said Irfan.
“We will continue our movement until peace comes, our movement has no specific timeline,” said one of the protest organizers Ahmad Jan Khadim.
The sit-in protestors embarked on a three-day hunger strike last week after government and the Taliban rejected their calls for a ceasefire. Only when the Ulema council stepped in did the protestors end their hunger strike. However, they have vowed to continue their sit-in protest.
In response to the peace campaign, the Taliban demanded a ceasefire on the part of the Afghan government and the complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Helmand’s Shorabak base and Kandahar Airport as a precondition for responding to peace calls by the protestors, which includes women.
In an audio message sent to the media, the group’s spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said the Taliban leadership will respond to the organizers of the peace rally in Helmand if foreign forces are pulled out of Helmand’s Shorabak base and Kandahar Airport.
The sit-in protest was launched following an attack on Ayub Khan Stadium last month, which killed 16 people and wounded 50 others.
On March 28, in a rare move, dozens of women from Helmand joined the peace protest by setting up a sit-in camp alongside the men’s camp at the stadium in the provincial capital Lashkargah City.