A hunger strike that called for peace in Afghanistan's southern province has ended after the country's Council of Religious Scholars, known as the Ulema Council, vowed to help reach a deal between the government and Taliban.
The strike, a desperate bid to get the Taliban and Afghan government reach a peace deal, started late on Thursday in the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, after more than 20 people were killed by a car bomb blast outside a sports stadium on March 23.
Activists pitched tents at the site of the attack, where Afghan men, women and children were holding a sit-in hunger strike. At least 12 people were hospitalised before the members of the Ulema Council intervened to end the strike. The sit-in will continue, however.
"Early morning today [Sunday], members of the council visited our tents and sat with us promising that we will work together on a peace plan to present to the government and the Taliban," Abdul Salam, a protester, told Al Jazeera.
"We are hoping to come with a plan as soon as possible with the support of the Ulema," Salam said.
Afghanistan suffered more than 10,000 civilian casualties in 2017, as deadly attacks killed and injured more people than any previous year in the war-torn country, according to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan's annual report.