News / Asia

Taliban Execution of Pakistani Security Forces Stalls Talks

Maulana Sami-ul-Haq ,a Pakistani religious cleric and member of Taliban's negotiating team, speaks during a press conference in Lahore, Pakistan, Feb. 15, 2014.
Maulana Sami-ul-Haq ,a Pakistani religious cleric and member of Taliban's negotiating team, speaks during a press conference in Lahore, Pakistan, Feb. 15, 2014.
Ayaz Gul
Taliban militants in Pakistan claim to have slaughtered 23 security forces who were being held captive - a devastating blow to controversial peace talks aimed at ending the Islamist insurgency that has plagued parts of the country for years. 

A faction of the outlawed Pakistani Taliban says the paramilitary troops were executed Sunday night to avenge what it alleged were killings of several militants in government custody within the past week.
 
The announcement came hours before a government delegation was to meet Taliban intermediaries for a fresh round of talks on Monday. The massacre provoked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government to cancel the scheduled interaction.
 
Omar Khalid Khurasani, leader of the Taliban faction based in the northwestern Mohmand tribal district, told VOA he favors the peace talks but will not end revenge attacks if the government carries out what he calls “extra-judicial” killings of his fighters in future. The militant leader is confident the dialogue with the government will not be affected and says his group will observe a cease-fire, provided the government does it first.
 
Khurasani also said the Taliban has long believed the government is not sincere in peace talks, otherwise it would have not killed Taliban prisoners while the peace process is underway. He dismissed reports that his faction is going against the policy of the main Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which is holding talks with the government through a team of religious scholars, including a senator and a former parliamentarian.
 
Prime Minister Sharif has strongly condemned the killings of the Pakistani soldiers, saying it will have a negative effect on the peace process.
 
Map of Pakistan Showing Mohmand Tribal District.Map of Pakistan Showing Mohmand Tribal District.
x
Map of Pakistan Showing Mohmand Tribal District.
Map of Pakistan Showing Mohmand Tribal District.
Putting to put the talks back on track will be a difficult task, said Rustum Shah Mohmand, a member of the government negotiating team.
 
“I think there is only one chance of protecting the process, if the main body of the TTP dissociates itself from the statement of Omar Khalid Khurasani, or if they try to explain that [he] is not perhaps an integral constituent of the [TTP] movement and that he has given the statement in his personal capacity or maybe to sabotage the [peace] process," Mohmand said. "That is the only way I think we can salvage this process.”

Army authorities describe the latest killings as a highly provocative terrorist act, saying Taliban allegations of “killing of terrorists in their custody are baseless and meant only to justify dastardly acts of terror.”
 
But the Sharif government remains under severe criticism for attempting to engage in peace talks with a group that has taken responsibility for murdering thousands of Pakistanis in recent years.
 
Skeptics, like Ashraf Jahangir Qazi, the former Pakistani ambassador to the United States, say the government lacks clarity while dealing with a group known for its anti-state actions.    

“You have a body [TTP] which is banned, which is proscribed, a body which denies the existence of the constitution, a body which says the entire judicial system of Pakistan must be replaced by what they regard as an Islamic system," Qazi said. "And government is finding ways to negotiate with them because it is sort of confessing it does not have a military option against them.”
 
The TTP and its associate groups are mostly based in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal regions on the Afghan border where it has allegedly set up training camps to dispatch suicide bombers inside the country and send fighters for subversive acts in Afghanistan.

Analysts believe a failure of the peace process is likely to increase chances of a military offensive against Taliban hideouts in the North Waziristan tribal region, identified by U.S. officials as an “epicenter” of international terrorism.

You May Like

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: plt2 from: UK
February 17, 2014 12:21 PM
Can't somebody invent a virus against extremist muslims?

by: Wazi from: UN
February 17, 2014 11:55 AM
what the US didn't quite get is that the Taliban look at the Pakis with derision and contempt. you see, there is a racial component here that the US either did not get or chose to ignore... the Afghans look at the Pakis, the Indians and the Iranians with a mixture of loathing contempt and derision. as soon as the US leaves Afghanistan, the Iranians and the Pakis will suffer enormously at the hands of the Taliban... and that will be a delight to see...

by: ansuman from: india
February 17, 2014 11:12 AM
I think success talks with taliban will not benefit India. sooner or later the package of talks is going to include a power sharing arrangement with Taliban as a compulsory partner in govt. which will spell doom for Afghan people as well.

by: Anonymous
February 17, 2014 10:18 AM
A very very sad occasion.

Hope govt of Pakistan wins. Sincere prayers and good wishes from India.

by: Climp Jones
February 17, 2014 10:11 AM
no surprise here. The Pakistani Government continues its "Cat's Paw" talks while its opponent continues to gleefully murder any and all it can get its claws and fangs into. What a joke

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs