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UN, Clerics Urge Afghan Peace During Ramadan

Afghan Muslims shop on the first day of Ramadan in Kabul, July 20, 2012.
Afghan Muslims shop on the first day of Ramadan in Kabul, July 20, 2012.
The United Nations is urging an end to violence in Afghanistan, as Muslims mark the first day of the holy month of Ramadan.

The head of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, Jan Kubis, issued a statement calling for all parties to "respect the sanctity of this month and allow Afghan families to worship and celebrate in peace."

"Let us all work during this holy month for the peace and the welfare of all Afghans who have suffered for over three long decades of conflict," Kubis said.

In Kabul, clerics also called for an end to violence. Abdul Raouf led Friday prayers in a Kabul mosque. He told The Associated Press, "This holy month of Ramadan is a holy feast for Muslims. During this feast, people should not kill by suicide attacks, people should not get killed by any means anywhere, but instead we should give the message of peace, the message of brotherhood and the message of mercy to everyone."

Human rights activist Niamatullah Hamdard hopes the calls will have a "positive impact" so that "we will have peace in this country and more children and Afghans are not killed."

Despite the calls for peace, authorities in southern Afghanistan said a roadside bomb killed a district police chief and at least four of his guards in Uruzgan province. The blast took place in the Sarab district late Thursday.