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Pakistan PM Sharif Holds Talks with Taliban

  • VOA News

FILE - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

FILE - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met Thursday with Taliban representatives, in an attempt to energize faltering talks aimed at ending the country's insurgency.

In a statement, Prime Minister Sharif stressed that it is his "religious, national, moral and constitutional duty" to rid the country of terrorism and bring peace to the nation.

On Wednesday, government negotiator Irfan Siddiqui said a "decisive phase" had been reached in the talks, which have made little progress in ending militant attacks.

Taliban lead negotiator Sami-ul Haq said a new strategy was needed to end the conflict.

The Tehreek-e-Taliban, a loose alliance of Islamist militants operating around the country, want to bring their own harsh form of Islamic law to the country.

They have also demanded an end to military operations in their tribal northwest strongholds, an end to drone strikes, and the release of their jailed fighters.

The talks have been marred by repeated militant attacks reaching from the northwest to the capital Islamabad and southern Karachi. The military has responded by sending fighter planes and helicopter gunships to pound militant hideouts.