Pakistani Taliban ready for peace talks

Pakistani Taliban expressed a conditional desire for proposed peace talks with the government.

Pakistani Taliban ready for peace talks

World Bulletin / News Desk

Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrela of various Taliban groups operating on Pakistan's soil, on Sunday expressed a conditional desire for proposed peace talks with the government to bring an end to over a decade-long militancy that have killed thousands of Pakistanis, including over 4,000 security personnel.

The offer came hours after a deadly bomb attack on a military convoy in northwestern town of Bannu on early Friday morning killing 24 soldiers and wounding 65. The TTP has already claimed the responsibility for the attack, the deadliest one since the killing of its chief Hakeemullah Mehsud in a US drone strike on November 1, 2013.

"We are ready for talks but that must be meaningful," Shahidullah Shahid, a TTP spokesperson said in a statement.

Earlier, the TTP had refused to hold any talks with the government following the killing of Mehsud accused the government of playing a "double-game".

Shahid said the Friday attack on the military convoy was an act of a TTP suicide bomber to avenge the death of Mehsud and Wali ur Rehman, the second top commander of TTP who was killed in another drone strike late in May 2013 in South Waziristan.

"We are ready for talks, however, the government should show its power and sincerity," Shahid said indirectly pointing at the country's powerful army that is considered the real power in this South Asian nuclear Muslim state.

"Our mission is the enforcement of Shari'ah in Pakistan. We are not fighting for ourselves.

"We have shown sincerity for talks in past, but unfortunartely, the government did not do that. They (the government) on the one hand offers us peace talks, while on the other hand, they are killing our leaders, and carrying out operations in tribal areas", the spokesperson said, referring to the killing of Mehsud, and a recent military offensive on Mir Ali town of North Waziristan which left 60 people, mostly civilians, dead.

"If the government shows its sincerity and power, the Taliban are ready for peace talks," he maintained.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is serving for the third term, had offered an olive branch to the Taliban in September 2013 in his first address to the nation after his election as the premier.

Initial contacts were reportedly made between the two sides, however, before the talks began, a US drone strike killed Mehsud in North Waziristan along with two of his aides on November 1, 2013, ruining the peace process.

The Taliban suspended all contacts with the governmnent and announced to avenge the death of their leader in the form of attacks on security forces and government officials.

Some 40 soldiers have been killed and over 100 wounded in 8 terrorist attacks in North Waziristan since November 1, 2013.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Ocak 2014, 17:50