Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
It has been reported to media sources that a group of 25 Afghan peace activists, who went missing for five days after marching through a Taliban-controlled area in Helmand province to plea for peace, have reappared unharmed.
A member of the group said that they have come back with ‘good messages’. People’s Peace Movement attracted international attention last year when they walked hundreds of kilometres across Afghanistan and into the capital Kabul in an attempt to reduce the record levels of violence across the country.
About 30 members of the People’s Peace Movement started a new walk on May 27, when they set out from Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province in the southwest.
Four of the group were taken into vehicles by the Taliban on Sunday as they crossed into insurgent-held territory, with most of the rest of the group taken away on Monday.
Bismillah Watandost, the marchers’ spokesman and among those who disappeared, said the group had not been kidnapped but had been unable to communicate, as their phones were not working in Taliban-controlled areas.
“The People’s Peace movement has come back with some good messages and we will brief the media tomorrow (Friday) about all the details, including who we met and what we talked about”, Watandost told The Dailymail.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad announced on Twitter that he met with and briefed NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg & the North Atlantic Council.
“Thanked them for the great sacrifices made & their ongoing commitment”, Khalilzad tweeted.
He also assured them continued full coordination of US, saying “We went to Afghanistan together, will adjust our presence together, & if we leave, will leave together”.
Meanwhile, the NATO SG Stoltenberg also tweeted that, “Strong support from 41 NATO Allies & partners in Resolute Support today to Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad & his efforts to make progress on peace in Afghanistan”.
It has been reported that at least 83 people were freed from a Taliban prison in an operation by Afghan forces in Qaisar district of Faryab province.
The captives were released on Wednesday night according to Shaheen Corps.