At least six Helmand hunger strikers – from a total of 30 – have been taken to hospital and are in poor condition, Lashkargah health officials confirmed.
The activists, who are in their third day of a hunger strike, embarked on the protest after both government and the Taliban failed to agree to their ceasefire demands.
The protestors have been holding a sit-in peace rally in Lashkargah city since Monday, following a deadly car bombing that killed at least 16 people after a wrestling match at a local stadium last weekend.
“Our medical teams are ready for any emergency case which happens to the hunger strikers. On Friday evening, two of the hunger strikers were not in a good condition and were taken to hospital. Now (on Saturday) four others are not well because they have not eaten anything in the past three days,” said Ghulam Haidar Husaini, head of the nursing department at Bost Hospital.
The peace convoy protesters said they will continue their hunger strike until the Taliban accept their demands for a ceasefire.
“Our hunger strike will continue until our demands of a ceasefire are accepted by Taliban and government,” said Najib, a protester.
Some Kabul residents meanwhile announced their support to the peace rally in the province.
“We announce our support to the movement of protestors in Helmand. We ask the Taliban to accept the ceasefire call and let the Helmand youth break their hunger strike,” said Edris Stanekzai, a resident of Kabul.
On Monday, the peace convoy drove through the city of Lashkargah, brandishing posters carrying messages of peace and later in the day embarked on a sit-in protest near the Ayub Khan Stadium – which was the scene of last weekend’s bombing.
However, on Friday, Helmand officials said they would agree to a ceasefire with the Taliban.