The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Friday said it was prepared to talk peace, despite the recent air strikes on militant hideouts in North Waziristan.

News reports said the TTP spokesperson told the media that since it was the government which had gone on the offensive, it should be the one moving for a ceasefire. The TTP was keen on the peace talks and resolving issues through dialogue whereas the government was keen on a Constitutional framework which did not reflect Islamic laws.

The TTP also demanded an immediate stop to the targeted military operations. While the government appointed committee has refused to meet the TTP nominees, and talks have come to a standstill, the military embarked on air strikes in North Waziristan in which a large number of militants were reportedly killed, including Uzbek nationals.

On Thursday interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told the media that the security forces had a right to self defence and to continue talks in a scenario where innocent blood was being shed was unjust to the victims. He did express the hope that since the committees were in place, the talks would soon be back on track and all this was part of a process and the government was willing to play out that process.

While the TTP says one thing, its Mohmand faction has admitted to killing 23 security forces in captivity which has thrown a spanner into the talks, coming close on the heels of the bombing of 13 policemen in Karachi.

On Thursday, Pakistan conveyed its strong protest and serious concern to the Afghan government on the brutal murder of 23 Frontier Corps personnel inside Afghan territory. Mr. Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs told the Afghan Foreign Minister Mr. Zarar Maqbool Osmani in Male during the SAARC ministerial meeting that in the Trilateral Summit in Ankara recently, it was agreed that both sides would not only prevent the use of their territory against each other but also take action against militants engaged in hostile action.

Mr Aziz urged the Afghan government to take prompt action to apprehend and punish the perpetrators of this heinous crime. The Afghan Foreign Minister promised to convey this message of concern to the relevant authorities in Afghanistan. Military sources said that in Wednesday's night strikes in Mir Ali, North Waziristan Agency, 16 Uzbek terrorists were also killed. In Khyber Agency air strikes on Thursday, seven terrorists including three suicide bombers and an important commander were killed as well.