by Abdul Haleem, Jawed Omid
BAMYAN, Afghanistan, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- The war-weary Afghans believe that peace is the mother of all happiness and this sentiment can be felt in the peaceful central province of Bamyan as the highland region, besides attracting thousands of terrorists annually, also hosts athletes to demonstrate their talents in their activities.
Availing its peaceful environment and picturesque landscape, Bamyan was the host of the international marathon recently where the athletes from different countries competed in the 10 km and 42 km distance to demonstrate the other face -- the face of peace loving of war-torn Afghanistan.
"I am very happy to have secured the second position among girls in the 42 km marathon here on Friday," a 23-old girl runner Maryam Mohammadi told Xinhua.
This is the fifth marathon over the past five years which is held in the peaceful central Bamyan province that has escaped militancy in the militancy-plagued Afghanistan.
Around 500 athletes both from the host country and foreign countries including China, India, the United States, France and Italy attended the running competition.
Maryam Mohammad who secured first position in the 10 km run last year and second position among the girls in the 42 km run this year, said with joy that "securing second position" in the 42 km distance is a great achievement and "I am proud" of it.
Held in two categories i.e. 10 km and 42 km in the scenic Band-e-Amir area, 200 runners contested the 42 km marathon where a girl from the United States secured the first position and Maryam Mohammad and Bigom from Afghanistan secured the second and third positions among the girls respectively.
However, Nabi of the host Bamyan province secured the first position among male contesters, while Karim Yaqub and Jawed ranked secured the second and third place.
Aiming at sending the message of peace to the world, the organizer of the marathon Gul Hussain told Xinhua that Afghans are peace loving people and organizing such activities will send the message of peace.
"Our message to the world is peace, we want to have durable peace and want to live in a peaceful environment," Hussain whispered.
"The Afghans have been fed up of war, we want to have lasting peace in our country, peace is everything and having peace paves the way for development of the country," Hussain said.
"The peaceful environment in Bamyan has facilitated the local authorities to organize variety of social activities including marathon, music festival, potato festival and skiing every year in the province," the official said with pride.