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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid