News / Asia

    Pakistan Bombing Leads to Questions on Peace Talks with Militants

    Security officials and rescue workers collect evidence at the site of a bomb blast on outskirts of Peshawar, March 14, 2014.
    Security officials and rescue workers collect evidence at the site of a bomb blast on outskirts of Peshawar, March 14, 2014.
    A bomb blast near a police vehicle in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar has killed at least three people. The latest attack will likely further fray support for government efforts to reach a peace settlement with the Taliban through dialogue.
     
    Shoppers were crowding into a Peshawar market for their weekend purchases when a bomb exploded, killing and injuring dozens of people.
     
    Police superintendent Faisal Kamran said the target of the suicide blast was an armored police vehicle nearby. Taliban militants constantly attack police and other security personnel in Pakistan.
     
    He said the armored personnel carrier was carrying a police sub-inspector and three other officers, but they are safe. The blast took place in a crowded place so some 25 people are wounded, and there are reports of five dead. He says police are moving in to secure the area.

    The latest attack in the volatile northwestern city of Peshawar, not far from militant strongholds in Pakistan’s western tribal belt, could further erode support for government attempts at peace talks with Taliban militants. Critics have said negotiations will only give militants time to regroup.
     
    Earlier this week, government peace negotiator Irfan Siddique said the faltering dialogue had entered a decisive phase after the Taliban declared a temporary cease-fire.
     
    The Taliban has shied away from claiming responsibility for ongoing militant violence. Analysts say repeated deadly attacks indicate that either the militants are not seriously pursuing peace, or that they no longer control the various extremist factions operating under their Tehreek-e-Taliban umbrella network.
     
    Security analyst, retired brigadier Saad Muhammad criticizes the government approach as an ineffective policy of appeasement.
     
    “This insurgency which is now in Pakistan is an expanding insurgency," he said. "Why in the world would the terrorists, or the insurgents, would be willing to lay down their arms? What is compelling them to lay down their arms?”

    Pakistan’s government has said that the dialogue has entered a “final and decisive” stage, but has not specified what will happen if the talks break down.
     
    Representatives nominated by the Taliban to represent them in the talks with the government traveled this week to North Waziristan to consult with the militant leaders on how to move the talks forward.
     
    The army, meanwhile, has already positioned itself for a military offensive in the tribal area of North Waziristan. Saad Muhammad says the new military leadership is ready to strike.
     
    “The present lot which is now at the top feels that this thing has to be sorted out and there is no other way except [to] get to these people,” he said.

    Also on Friday, a remote-controlled bicycle bomb in the southwestern province of Baluchistan killed at least seven people. The blast, on a busy crossroads in the provincial capital of Quetta, appeared to target security personnel traveling on the road at the time.
     
    Police said all the victims were civilians.
     
    Baluchistan suffers from a violent nationalist insurgency, but Taliban extremists also operate in and around Quetta and use routes leading from there to the volatile tribal areas.

    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

    South Sudan Sends First Ever Official Olympic Team to Rio

    VOA caught up with Santino Kenyi, 16, one of three athletes who will compete in this year's summer games in Brazil

    Arrest of Malawi's 'Hyena' Man Highlights Clash of Ritual, Health and Women's Rights

    Ritual practice of deflowering young girls is blamed for spreading deadly AIDS virus

    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    VOA finds things Americans take for granted are special to foreigners

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora