News / Asia

Pakistani Taliban Suspend Month-long Ceasefire But Still Want Talks

FILE- Maulana Sami ul-Haq (R), one of the Taliban negotiators, and Irfan Siddiqui, a government negotiator, discuss a joint statement before a news conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, Feb. 6, 2014.
FILE- Maulana Sami ul-Haq (R), one of the Taliban negotiators, and Irfan Siddiqui, a government negotiator, discuss a joint statement before a news conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, Feb. 6, 2014.
Reuters
The Pakistani Taliban have not extended a month-long ceasefire but are still open to pursuing peace talks with the Islamabad government, a spokesman for the insurgent movement said Wednesday.
 
Shahidullah Shahid said some Taliban leaders had objected to extending the ceasefire, which lasted during the month of March.
 
The Pakistani Taliban and the Islamabad government are now  involved in their second round of peace talks. A first round failed in February after the Taliban bombed a police bus and executed 23 men kidnapped from a government paramilitary force.
 
Islamabad then refused to hold further talks until the Taliban announced a ceasefire on March 1.
 
Government negotiators were not available Wednesday to comment on whether talks would continue.
 
Taliban negotiators have demanded the government release 800 prisoners they describe as innocent family members and withdraw the army from part of the semi-autonomous tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.
 
“We gave this list and names of our civilian prisoners as a test case and wanted to see if the government was serious,” one commander said. “But we felt that the government is either powerless or not serious in talks.”
 
Ibrahim Khan, a religiously conservative politician representing the Taliban in the talks, said they had presented their demands on March 29 but had no answer from the government. He did not know if talks would continue without a ceasefire.
 
Attacks could resume

Taliban spokesman Shahid accused the government of continuing to kill Taliban during the ceasefire, especially in Karachi, the country's largest city. Taliban fighters are so prevalent in some neighborhoods that law enforcement agencies are sometimes reluctant to enter.
 
Taliban commander Omar Khalif Khurasani, from the northern Mohmand region, said attacks would begin again in Pakistan.

“There would be more attacks in which common people suffer as the government isn't sincere in peace talks,” he told Reuters.
 
Pakistan was not entirely peaceful during the ceasefire. A militant group calling itself Ahrar-ul-Hind launched a rare attack in Islamabad, killing 11 in a court including a judge.
 
The Taliban said they were not responsible for the actions of other militant groups.
 
Last week, several militant commanders said the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, which are separate but allied groups, had agreed on the month-long ceasefire.
 
Both Taliban groups were concerned that a possible military operation along the border would disrupt Taliban bases used to launch attacks in Afghanistan, they said.
 
Both are fighting to impose a strict Islamic state, but each group usually focuses its attacks on its own country.
 
Afghanistan is due to hold presidential elections on April 5 that should mark the first time one democratically-elected government hands power to another in the country's history.
 
But while Pakistan was relatively peaceful last month, the Afghan Taliban launched a series of high profile attacks in Afghanistan, killing both local and foreign residents.
 
Many fear the insecurity will keep Afghan voters at home, making it easier for corrupt officials to stuff ballot boxes.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More