A Pakistani government delegation Wednesday met face-to-face with representatives of the Pakistani Taliban for the first time since efforts to open talks were derailed in February, officials said.
Aim of the meet
The meeting, at a secret location in Pakistans restive tribal region, was mostly to iron out logistical issues for further talks, and the sides also discussed extending a cease-fire in effect over the past month, according to a Pakistani official with knowledge of the talks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the effort.
The government delegation was said to include four current or former officials, who flew by helicopter to a village in North Waziristan, a center of militant operations. The Pakistani official said the Taliban delegation included Maulana Samiul Haq, an influential cleric and founder of a radical madrassa who had been involved in earlier efforts to start talks.
The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had sought for months to open talks, hoping to negotiate an end to the militant violence said to have killed tens of thousands of people during the past decade. But the effort came under criticism as Taliban militants staged a heavy barrage of attacks even while saying they were open to negotiations.— New York Times News Service