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

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs