A new sit-in camp was established in Helmand province – this time in Gereshk district – on Thursday, as momentum continues to gather around the peace campaign.
Gereshk, which is about 60kms north of Lashkargah City, is considered an insecure area and has experienced many years of violence.
Gereshk protestors started their sit-in demonstration on Friday in support of their Lashkargah counterparts who embarked on their peace campaign last Monday.
The Lashkargah protestors, including women, have vowed to continue their demonstration until their demands for a ceasefire by both the Taliban and government have been met.
The Gereshk sit-in is the second to be established this week, after the Lashkargah group set up their camp last Monday.
On Monday this week, a second group of activists embarked on a sit-in in Nawa district in support of the peace campaign.
The Lashkargah sit-in was sparked by the deadly car bombing, almost two weeks ago, outside a stadium in the city following a wrestling match.
“I have come from Kandahar (province) and I have participated in this sit-in camp because every nook and cranny of Afghanistan is my home,” said Nisar Saleh, a resident of Kandahar, who is taking part in the Gereshk protest.
“I will support this peace effort. I will demand peace from anyone; whether it is government or armed oppositions. There has been enough war.”
“Tribal elders, other residents and even religious scholars have come here from other parts of Helmand. Religious scholars have said they are ready to support peace even at the cost of their blood. People are very hopeful about results of this move,” said Abdul Malik Hamdard, an activist from Helmand.
Ahmad Wali, a resident of Gereshk, said he fully supports the sit-in camps in the province.
“This sit-in camp and this movement is for the benefit of the people and the country. Afghans are stranded either in Iran or Pakistan. They want peace,” Wali said.
“We are very happy about this move. These efforts by civilians will have a positive result hopefully,” said Bashir Ahmad, a resident of Gereshk.
People across Afghanistan this week expressed their support of the Helmand protestors – including lawmakers in Afghanistan’s parliament.
Last week dozens of women from Helmand also joined the Lashkargah sit-in by setting up their own camp, alongside the men’s tents, outside the stadium in Lashkargah.