Asia

Afghan People's Peace Movement marchers 'kidnapped by Taliban'

People's Peace Movement protest in Kandahar - January 2019 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Taliban has accused the movement of being financed by the Afghan government

Twenty-seven members of a peace group have been kidnapped by the Taliban as they travelled in western Afghanistan, local officials and activists say.

The People's Peace Movement (PPM) began its march demanding a ceasefire from Herat province two weeks ago, but disappeared after entering Farah province.

The Taliban have yet to comment.

The Taliban are engaged in peace talks with the US, but regularly attack Afghan and international forces.

Deputy Farah governor Massoud Bakhtawar said the activists, travelling in six cars, were stopped by the Taliban on a major road and taken to an unknown location.

The movement started its marches in early 2018 in Helmand in protest against violent attacks, after a car bomb in a stadium in the south of the province killed 17 civilians and injured 50.

Since then they have travelled to other parts of the country, often marching through areas controlled by the Taliban.

The Taliban have previously accused the movement of being financed by the Afghan government, but it denies this.

Tens of thousands of Afghan civilians and members of the security forces, and more than 3,000 international military personnel, have been killed in fighting since 2001.

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