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

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    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.