Tags: Pakistan | Taliban | Nawaz Sharif

Pakistan Government, Taliban to Hold Peace Talks

Image: Pakistan Government, Taliban to Hold Peace Talks
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

By    |   Monday, 03 Feb 2014 11:34 PM

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government will hold preliminary peace talks Tuesday with Taliban representatives, The Washington Post reported.

If negotiations fail, the Pakistani leader has signaled that he may order a military offensive to regain control of tribal areas dominated by the Taliban, the jihadist group responsible for an insurgency that has claimed more than 45,000 lives during the past decade.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan, one of Pakistan’s leading advocates of peace talks with the Taliban, has declined the jihadist group’s offer to join its team responsible for negotiating peace with the Islamabad government, the London Telegraph reported.  

Khan, a former cricket star and current head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf political party (PTI), has been a staunch proponent of peace talks with the Taliban and a strident foe of U.S. drone strikes against jihadists based in Pakistan.

The PTI said it would do everything it could to aid the peace process but that the Taliban would be better served by choosing its own officials to negotiate with the Pakistani government.

Many experts doubt that a peace accord with the Taliban is achievable, pointing to the organization’s radical ideology and violent history.

Some Taliban officials have circulated a list of 10 demands for negotiators, ranging from a total withdrawal of the Pakistan Army from tribal areas and a release of all Taliban prisoners to a ban on women appearing in public in jeans or without headscarves.

Zahid Hussain, an Islamabad-based defense analyst, said military leaders would oppose Sharif if he agreed to a prisoner release.

According to Hussain, many Pakistani military leaders are against such a move because Taliban commanders freed under earlier peace initiatives have gone back to the battlefield.

“There have been several peace deals with the Taliban, and none of them have worked, and I don’t think things have diametrically changed,” he said.

The Taliban has taken credit for a series of attacks that have killed hundreds of people since early October.

After 20 Pakistani soldiers were killed in a North Waziristan suicide bombing last month, the military carried out airstrikes that killed 40 foreign fighters and domestic jihadists, driving thousands of area residents out of their homes.

Many analysts saw the move as a sign that Prime Minister Sharif and Pakistan’s new army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif, were planning a major anti-Taliban offensive. But Sharif, who has made a negotiated settlement with the militant group a top priority, said last week that he would appoint a four-member delegation to make a final bid for peace.


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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government will hold preliminary peace talks Tuesday with Taliban representatives, The Washington Post reported. If negotiations fail, the Pakistani leader has signaled that he may order a military offensive to regain control of tribal areas dominated by the Taliban.
Pakistan,Taliban,Nawaz Sharif
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2014-34-03
Monday, 03 Feb 2014 11:34 PM
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