Afghans who marched hundreds of miles for peace arrive in Kabul

Updated 11:33 AM ET, Mon June 18, 2018

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Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN)On Monday, at least 65 activists -- the youngest just 17, the oldest 70 -- were greeted by hundreds of well-wishers as they made their way across the Afghan capital with chants of "We Want Peace!" and "No War!"

By the time the activists -- hailing from the provinces of Helmand, Kandahar and Herat -- made it to Kabul's historic Abdul Rahman mosque, they were flanked by local supporters, media and politicians expressing their appreciation for a movement that has captivated a nation reeling from an increasingly deadly war.
Despite the bright spirits of the marchers, the journey had taken its toll. According to local media, 30 of the activists had to be treated for dehydration, exhaustion and damage to their feet and legs from days of walking across roads of varying conditions.
Two of the marchers rest in the Abdul Rahman mosque in Kabul. Mosques were the marchers' chief refuge during their 700-kilometer (435-mile), 38-day trek.

Grueling journey

Abdul Manai Hamdard, from the Gereshk district of Helmand province, says he never expected the march to take as long as it did.
"When I left Helmand I only took a few clothes and very little money. I thought we'd be in Kabul in 10 or 12 days."
    Instead, the journey saw the 27-year-old trek across six provinces crisscrossing between government- and Taliban-controlled areas. As the journey continued, their numbers swelled, from the eight youth who began the march on May 12, to more than 65 by the time they reached Kabul.