Kabul kite-runners mark Peace Day eve

Earlier this week the street children, from Kabul’s Aschiana Foundation, traveled around Kabul visiting TV stations to appeal by song for support. Kabul municipality joined in by opening the fabled gardens of Babur to a photo exhibition for peace. A city cleanup and advertising campaign has been launched, and telecoms companies Roshan and AWCC have issued thousands of bulk SMS messages for peace – a first ever in Afghanistan.

Peace marches are meanwhile being planned in the cities of Herat and Jalalabad, along with multiple community events in the Central Highlands, North and Northeast. In southern and southeastern provinces – areas directly affected by the insurgency – the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef), World Health Organization, and Afghan health authorities have been taking the opportunity of the campaign to vaccinate children against polio.

Afghanistan has suffered decades of war and in the past 18 months a Taliban-led insurgency has re-emerged. The Peace Day in Afghanistan drive was launched in July by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Unicef, and the global campaign group Peace One Day. It has coincided with unprecedented expressions of interest on the parts of the Taliban, the Government, and others in talks about ending conflict. On September 11th the UN’s top envoy in Afghanistan, Tom Koenigs, appealed for Peace Day to be marked by a countrywide total cessation of violence.

Bo Asplund, Deputy Special Representative to the Secretary-General said “We share the hope of Afghanistan’s children who want peace. Far too many Afghans continue to live in the shadow of fear and insecurity. Let us today pledge to do more to remove the scourge of fear and insecurity from the lives of people across the country.”