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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid