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Afghan amputee marchers embark on gruelling peace trek

AFP  |  Herat 

Twenty Afghan amputees, some in wheelchairs and others on crutches, began a gruelling trek of hundreds of kilometres across today, demanding an end to the war that cost them their limbs.

The "peace convoy" began its journey in the western city of and will finish on the other side of the country in the capital Kabul, running the gauntlet of militants, roadside bombs and blistering temperatures.

"We are taking this journey of more than 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) to to tell the world to stop the war," Mohammad Musa, 40, who lost both legs in a landmine explosion, told AFP.

"The war has brought nothing except destruction."

Abubaker Qaderi, whose right leg was blown off by a roadside bomb 15 years ago, called for a "permanent ceasefire" in the latest conflict, which began with the 2001 US-led invasion.

"War must stop, we want peace," the 50-year-old told AFP before setting off towards

"For the sake of the next generation, they should stop fighting," another protester called told AFP.

The march comes weeks after another group demanding peace walked 700 kilometres from the southern city of to Kabul, much of it during the fasting month of

That march, believed to be the first of its kind in Afghanistan, arrived in the city on June 18 as the ended an unprecedented three-day ceasefire and resumed fighting.

The is expected to announce a second truce for the next Eid holiday this month.

Afghanistan's largest militant group has not agreed to the protesters' demands and has ignored Ashraf Ghani's offer of unconditional peace talks.

The has long insisted on direct talks with the

has repeatedly refused, saying negotiations must be Afghan-led. But there are tentative signs that diplomatic efforts to kick-start negotiations are starting to bear fruit.

indicated a change in its longstanding policy in June when US said the was prepared to "support, facilitate and participate" in talks.

Pompeo also said the role of foreign forces in would be on the table.

Last month representatives met US officials for talks in

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, August 07 2018. 19:35 IST