News / Asia

Killing of Pakistan General May Hamper Peace Talks Plan

Ayaz Gul
Taliban extremists in Pakistan are claiming responsibility for a roadside blast in a remote district that killed a regional army commander and two of his subordinates.  Critics see the attack as a blow to government initiatives aimed at engaging in peace talks with Islamist militants.

Army officials say that Major-General Sanaullah Niazi was returning to his regional headquarters Sunday after visiting an outpost near the Afghan border when a roadside bomb blew up his vehicle.

The attack took place in the district of Upper Dir.  A lieutenant colonel was also among the victims.

Insurgent violence has frequently targeted security forces in parts of northwestern Pakistan, but killing senior generals is extremely rare.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that “such cowardly acts” will not harm the morale of the armed forces, adding the army has made “substantial sacrifices to protect the nation against the menace of terrorism”.

A spokesman for the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the bombing.  

The latest violence comes just days after Prime Minister Sharif’s government organized a national conference in which major political parties endorsed his plan to engage in peace talks with the Taliban.

However, there is widespread skepticism about peace talks.  Critics maintain that previous attempts emboldened the militants and allowed them to regroup and continue their anti-state activities.

National Security Affairs Editor Ejaz Haider works at a commercial Pakistani TV station.  He says Sunday’s attack could part of efforts by the Taliban to strengthen their bargaining position before any talks. “Now, this is the kind of the thing that the state should be doing. But unfortunately the state, instead of doing this, instead of talking from a position of strength, has actually put all its eggs in the talks basket without really creating space for itself which will make peace talks meaningful or they will have the advantage of talking from a position of strength," he said.

The Taliban is waging a bloody insurgency that has killed thousands of Pakistanis, including security forces, in recent years.

The Islamist group has welcomed the government’s peace move and indicated it is open to talks, but the spokesman defended Sunday’s attack, saying there is no ceasefire yet.

The militants reportedly demand that Pakistan release all Taliban prisoners and withdraw its troops from tribal areas before they will participate in peace talks.  Most political analysts think authorities are unlikely to accept these demands and say the latest bombing may have dealt a blow to the prospects for peace efforts.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid