Pakistan Taliban confirms peace talks

2011-12-10 19:32

Peshawar - The Pakistani Taliban is in peace talks with the Pakistani government, a senior commander in the militant group said on Saturday, adding the negotiations were "progressing well."

The statement by Maulvi Faqir Mohammad is the first time a named Taliban commander has confirmed that the group is negotiating with the Pakistani government.

Mohammad, said to be the deputy chief of the group, said his men had held "peace talks with relevant government officials".

"They are progressing well, and we may soon sign a formal peace agreement with the government," he said in a telephone conversation.

Last month, anonymous militants and intelligence officials said exploratory peace talks were under way.

The government and the army denied any such talks after those reports were published, as did a spokesperson for the Taliban.

It is unclear whether Mohammad speaks for the group's entirety. The network, which has declared war on the Pakistani state and carried out hundreds of bloody suicide attacks around the country, is believed to have splintered into different factions over the last year.

Government officials were not available for fresh reaction.

Rest and regroup

Mohammad's main area of strength is the Bajur tribal region, which has seen military operations over the past three years that army commanders have claimed wiped out militancy there.

Mohammad said any deal in Bajur could be "role model" for the rest of the border region.

The United States is unlikely to support peace moves with militants from the Pakistani Taliban.

Previous deals in the northwest close to the Afghan border have been used by the insurgents to rest and regroup.

The Pakistan Taliban are allied with, and give safe haven to, militants fighting Western troops across the frontier in Afghanistan.

  • Smell - 2011-12-10 20:12

    They were always allies - what's the fuss?

  • Derek - 2011-12-10 20:37

    I wonder why we never hear of Nato intiating peace talks in Afganistan?? Just maybe they don't want it?

      Smell - 2011-12-10 21:16

      Valid question. Some countries truly are so stuck in a medieval culture that outsiders just cannot rescue them from it. The reason NATO got involved in a war they could not win is essentially post 9/11 PTSD. But so much money has been spent and so many lives have been lost to introduce democracy and basic women's rights, that it is a very hard thing to do to just give up the effort. The Taliban leaders have never been keen on "negotiating" a settlement, and why would they be? That is one of the most fundamentalist organizations in the World. And the indigenous people in that neck of the woods have through history outlasted the forces of "outsiders", however good or bad the intentions of the "outsiders" might have been.

      Amos - 2011-12-10 21:49

      NATO forces need to be wiped out of Afghanistan and I beleive the Taliban is doing a fine job there.

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