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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez 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 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 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 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.

VOA Blogs