Imagine trekking more than 620 miles in the blistering heat with roadside bombs and militia attacks posing constant threats to your journey. Now, imagine doing all of that on crutches.
On 7thAugust 2018, twenty Afghan amputees started a 600+ mile march across Afghanistan, demanding an end to the war that cost them their limbs. The proclaimed “peace convoy” started its journey in the western city of Herat and will finish on the other side of the country in the capital Kabul.
One of the marchers, Mohammad Musa, lost both of his legs in a landmine explosion and stated, “We are taking this journey of more than 600 miles to Kabul to tell the world to stop the war.”
Another demonstrator, Abubaker Qaderi, who lost his right leg when a roadside bomb detonated 15 years ago, called for a “permanent ceasefire” in the latest conflict, which started with the 2001 US-led invasion.
A spokesperson for the twenty-strong march said, “We want peace, we want a normal life, we want to work and serve our country.”
Holding signs reading “no more war” in Pashtu, the amputees represent the human cost of the Afghanistan conflict and their action is among the latest demands by Afghan citizens for the Taliban to make peace. This march comes a month after a rally held in Herat city where more than 100 Afghanis – including many of whom were disabled by terrorism and the conflict – cried out to the Taliban to stop their oppression.
Despite a growing civil society in Afghanistan and increasing calls for peace, the Taliban has not agreed to the protesters’ demands and has ignored President Ashraf Ghani’s offer of unconditional peace talks. Meanwhile, the Afghan diaspora, as well as Muslims around the world, have been declaring their support for the peace process and calling on the Taliban to come to the negotiating table.
This peace convoy truly represents the inspiring strength and resilience of those maimed and scarred by conflict and the determination of the Afghan people in their fight for peace.