News / Asia

    Pakistan-Taliban Talks on Verge of Collapse

    Pakistani religious cleric and member of Taliban's negotiating committee Maulana Sami-ul-Haq speaks during a press conference in Lahore, Pakistan, Feb. 15, 2014.
    Pakistani religious cleric and member of Taliban's negotiating committee Maulana Sami-ul-Haq speaks during a press conference in Lahore, Pakistan, Feb. 15, 2014.
    Pakistan’s attempts at peace talks with Taliban militants appeared on the edge of collapse Thursday.

    Interior Minister Choudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the civilian government and the nation’s powerful military have agreed: negotiations with the militants cannot proceed in the face of repeated terrorist attacks.

    Khan said Pakistan’s security forces have the right to defend themselves, and what was witnessed in the past 24 hours is a reflection of that.

    Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
    x
    Click to enlarge
    Click to enlarge
    The statement followed military strikes early Thursday against militant targets in the tribal area of North Waziristan which killed at least 35 militants.
     
    The strikes were in retaliation to attacks against Pakistani security forces, including the execution of 23 soldiers who were held hostage by militants in neighboring Afghanistan.
     
    Pakistan conveyed a strong protest to the Afghan government that the killing took place on their soil.
     
    According to analyst Anatol Lieven of King’s College Department of War Studies in London, there appears to be a strong will in the Pakistani military to launch offensives against the Taliban in North Wazirisitan, an area they have shied away from in the past.
     
    “The high command of the military has, I think, genuinely come to recognize in recent years the extent of the Pakistani Taliban threat,” he said, adding that the civilian government appeared less convinced.
     
    Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif previously said that dialogue with the Tehreek-e-Taliban would be a cornerstone of his administration. But talks broke down earlier this week.
     
    The Tehreek-e-Taliban, a loose network of Islamist militants, now operates across large areas of the country, including the main Punjab province, and the southern port city of Karachi.
     
    Lieven said that could prove to be a major challenge.

    “I suspect that we will see intensified action in the tribal areas, coupled with increased terrorism elsewhere in the country,” he said.
     
    Khan announced Thursday that the government is beefing up its security systems in and around the capital, Islamabad.  But he dismissed a report that there were terrorist “sleeper cells” in the city.
     
    Despite the military action, he said the government is still ready to sit down with the Taliban to seek a political end to the violence.

    Analysts agree there appear to be increasing divisions within the Taliban, between those who want a settlement with the government and others who are determined to continue fighting.
     
    But some analysts say peace talks are not likely to succeed because the demands of the Pakistani Taliban are so extreme that if the government were to accede to them, it would in effect mean the end of the Pakistani state.

    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: MikeBarnett from: USA
    February 20, 2014 1:43 PM
    Pakistan's situation became complicated because its eastern border was determined by war with India, while its northwestern border was created by the British Empire that split the Pashtun tribes to let Britain divide and rule. The Taliban, who arose from the Pashtun tribes during the Afghan Civil War in the 1990's, are on both sides of Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. Its borders and relationships with its tribes remain unsettled.

    Fortunately, China has sold it combat aircraft and transferred technology for Pakistan to build its own planes that have been used to bomb militant targets. China has built and sold 3 warships and transferred technology for Pakistan to build future warships. The first three have been used to fight Somali piracy in the Indian Ocean. China has sent 16 flotillas to combat Somali piracy with the International Naval Force. China, Russia, and 4 central Asian countries in the SCO have agreed to watch Afghanistan after the US and NATO leave in 2014, so Pakistan will not be alone in conflict against the Taliban and other threats after 2014.

    by: Mr. Mitch from: USA
    February 20, 2014 9:18 AM
    Is it because a world population in the billions necessitates the thinning of the herd? Wouldn't birth control be preferable to death control? I swear, I can see the day coming when gay people will be hailed as having the highest degree of social awareness.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora