Pakistan’s Taliban announces indefinite ceasefire with government

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Pakistani Taliban militants on Friday announced an indefinite ceasefire with the government following talks mediated by the Aghan Taliban.

Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan last year, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has ramped up attacks in neighbouring Pakistan, resulting in the deaths of dozens of government soldiers.

The TTP has been in conflict with the Pakistani government for years.

With the Taliban in power in Kabul, the TTP is now moving to impose its own interpretation of sharia or Islamic law in those Pakistani regions along the country’s 2,570km border with Afghanistan in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provice, from Waziristan to Swat.

Spokesperson for the banned TTP Mohammad Khurasani said the decision to extend the ceasefire – which expired on 30 May – was made on Thursday, following “substantial progress” during its talks with a 50-person jirga, or delegation comprising Pakistani tribal elders and politicians.

Meanwhile, a Pakistani government official reportedly said the talks with the TTP in Kabul were headed in a promising direction.

In addition to the imposition of hard-line Sharia law in Pakistan, the TTP is also pressing the Imran Khan-led government to release over 100 of its fighters – currently in Pakistani jails.

The government, on the other hand, wants the TTP disbanded and for its ighters to submit to the country’s constitution. It is also demanding that the Pakistani Taliban sever its alleged ties with local ISIS offshoot, the ISIS-K, which is active in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The TTP on 18 May extended the cease-fire with the government until the end of the month, after the two sides held an initial round of talks hosted by the Afghan Taliban.

As per an Al Jazeera report, the Afghan Taliban did not release any statement on the ceasefire being indefinitely extended. In the past, the outfit has maintained it only offers neutral ground for any peace talks between the TTP and the Pakistani government.

Members of the jirga were sent to Kabul as intermediaries for the government, which cannot directly negotiate with those rebelling against it, as laid out in the country’s constitution.

Additional reporting on wires



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