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Pakistani Taliban extends ceasefire with military until May 30

Pakistan Army troops observe the area from hilltop post on the Pakistan Afghanistan border, in Khyber district, Pakistan. (File photo used for representational purposes only.)

Pakistan Army troops observe the area from hilltop post on the Pakistan Afghanistan border, in Khyber district, Pakistan. (File photo used for representational purposes only.) | Photo Credit: AP

Following a meeting with a high-level security team in Afghanistan, the dreaded Pakistani Taliban terror group has extended the ceasefire with the Pakistan Army until May 30, the media reported on May 18.

In a meeting with a Pakistani delegation led by former ISI chief and current Peshawar Corps Commander Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant group agreed to extend the ceasefire until May 30 on the demand of tribal elders, TTP spokesman Muhammad Khurasani said.

According to the Express Tribune newspaper, the Pakistani military delegation included officials of the Military Intelligence (MI) and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

It reported that the terror outfit also held talks with the Mehsud tribe and Malakand tribal jirgas to reach a peace deal amid an increase in terror incidents in the tribal districts bordering strife-torn Afghanistan.

Sources close to the development told the newspaper that Gen Hameed-led delegation held direct talks with the TTP top leadership on the assurances of the dreaded Haqqani Network.

“The Pakistani military and later the Mehsud and Malakand jirgas have held separate meetings in the compound since Monday,” the sources added. In its meeting with the military leadership, the Taliban put forth a series of demands in exchange for a ceasefire. The Taliban's demands included the release of their commanders, including the mid-stage commanders facing life terms and death sentences, financial support to militants repatriated from Afghanistan and a general amnesty for the families of the Taliban fighters.

The Taliban also demanded an end to Pakistani military operations in North and South Waziristan tribal districts along with an end to search operations in the merged tribal districts.

The Pakistani military told the Taliban to cease cross-border attacks, extend the ceasefire and let the fencing along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border continue.

Similarly, a 32-member delegation of the Mehsud tribe met the TTP leadership in Khost. The meeting also included a 16-member committee comprising representatives from other districts to take up their demands with the TTP. It may be noted here that on May 7 a grand jirga in South Waziristan formed a 35-member committee to broker talks between the Pakistan Army and the TTP.

The Army had given a deadline to the Mehsud tribe to evacuate the area so that they could conduct an operation. On May 10, the TTP announced a five-day extension in the ceasefire reached between the Pakistan Army and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan on account of Eid-ul-Fitr.

The TTP had also warned its fighters against defying the order, directing them to avoid skirmishes with security forces till further orders, according to The Express Tribune. The TTP militants have been fighting with the security forces since 2008, when the outfit was set up, to press for the implementation of the Sharia laws in the country.

However, the group is being pressed by the Afghan Taliban for talks with the Pakistan government to end the conflict. The Haqqani network is playing a key role in the negotiations, according to defence sources.


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Printable version | Jul 1, 2022 1:13:35 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/pakistani-taliban-extends-ceasefire-with-military-until-may-30/article65426370.ece