Pakistan halts air strikes after Taliban ceasefire

The security forces reserve the right to respond to any act of violence, says Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Pakistan halts air strikes after Taliban ceasefire

World Bulletin / News Desk

In response to a month-long ceasefire announced by the warring Taliban on Saturday, Pakistani government announced that it was going to halt air strikes against insurgents on Sunday.

"The security forces are going to suspend the air strikes which were continuing for past few days in response to a positive announcement by the Taliban yesterday (Saturday)," Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said in a statement.

However, he said that the security forces reserved the right to respond to any act of violence.

He added that the security forces were carrying out air strikes "Only in reaction to terrorist attacks."

The ceasefire and the suspension of drone strikes are likely to break the deadlock that struck the peace talks two weeks ago, analysts observe.

Maulana Yousaf Shah, the coordinator of a three-member Taliban negotiating team, told reporters that the meeting of two negotiating teams was expected to be held on Tuesday.

Over 100 suspected militants were killed in massive bombardments since February 17, the day the peace talks between the two sides broke down, in North Waziristan, South Waziristan, Khyber Agency and Hangu areas.

The talks struck an impasse after two deadly terrorist attacks on security forces - one on February 13 in the port city of Karachi at a police training center killing 13 police officers.

The second was in Afghanistan on February 15 where the Taliban killed 23 security personnel who they had abducted in 2010.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella of various Taliban groups in Pakistan, announced a month-long ceasefire on Saturday directing all its galvanized groups to suspend attacks on security forces with immediate effect.  

Last Mod: 03 Mart 2014, 09:52
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