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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid