News / Asia

    Pakistani Government, Taliban Open Talks

    Maulana Sami ul-Haq (front C), one of the Taliban negotiators, and Irfan Siddiqui (front L), a government negotiator, shake hands after a news conference in Islamabad on February 6, 2014.
    Maulana Sami ul-Haq (front C), one of the Taliban negotiators, and Irfan Siddiqui (front L), a government negotiator, shake hands after a news conference in Islamabad on February 6, 2014.
    Sharon Behn
    Government peace negotiators on Thursday opened preliminary talks with representatives of the Pakistani Taliban in an attempt to end more than a decade of violent militancy in the country. 

    After a false start earlier this week, Pakistan government negotiators and a team of Islamist leaders picked by the Pakistani Taliban to represent them said they had sketched out the first steps on a path to peace.
     
    Government coordinator Irfan Siddiqui emerged from the meeting saying it had been a “good day”.  The government team said they had insisted on a ceasefire as the dialogue continued, that the talks remain within the parameters of the constitution, and they focus only on the insurgency in the tribal areas.

    The Taliban aims to bring strict Islamic law to the country and has demanded the release of militant prisoners.  Both objectives are at odds with the nation’s laws.

    Siddiqui said the Taliban representatives would pass on the government’s position.

    “The Taliban committee has promised that they will go to the Taliban leadership with our demands and they will not only just put these demands, but try to convince them that these are reasonable demands and then they will come back to us and will go further ahead.”

    The Taliban-nominated team demanded a direct meeting with the country’s top leaders, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Army Chief Raheel Sharif, and the head of the nation’s intelligence services, General Zaheer-ul Islam.

    Previous attempts at a negotiated solution to the militancy have failed.

    According to state-run radio, Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told Taliban committee leader Maulana Sami-ul Haq that the government was fully committed to the talks.  The two spoke by telephone prior to the closed-door meeting.

    Michael Kofman, a counterinsurgency and counterterrorism Pakistan expert at the Institute for National Strategic Studies in Washington says the Taliban agreement to talk was most likely just a stalling tactic against a military offensive.

    “As long as the Taliban hold out the prospect that their differences with Pakistan’s government can be resolved with negotiations, people will not be inclined to support any kind of military offensive," he said. "And so talking is strategically very useful for them, it is very useful for them on the ground.”

    Kofman said his views did not necessarily reflect those of his organization.
     
    The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan is an umbrella organization of Islamist militants fighting a bloody insurgency against the state of Pakistan.

    Despite the agreement to talk about peace, militants have continued to attack security forces.  The army has responded with a number of bombing raids on militant strongholds.  Critics of the negotiations point to the non-stop violence as evidence that a negotiated solution to the militancy is not possible.

    Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has resisted pressure to launch a military offensive in the northwest, saying negotiations are the best solution to the violent insurgency.

    On Tuesday, a planned meeting between the two committees failed when government negotiators pulled out at the last minute.  Government negotiator Rustam Shah Mohmand then said meaningful talks could only be held with actual Taliban members, not their appointed representatives.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: ali baba from: new york
    February 06, 2014 12:30 PM
    these people do not believe in peace. they are living in the stone age where the strong take advantage of the weak they called bacha bazi

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.