PESHAWAR: The Pakistani Taliban demanded Sunday that the government release militant prisoners and begin withdrawing troops from the group's tribal sanctuary before they will participate in peace talks, raising doubts about prospects for negotiations.

The Taliban's leadership council decided on the need for confidence building measures while meeting to discuss the government's offer to hold peace talks, said the group's spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid.

Pakistan's major political parties endorsed peace talks with the Taliban last week as the best way to end a decade-long insurgency that has killed thousands of people.

However, it's unclear what steps the government is willing to take to convince the militants to sit down at the negotiating table.

It's also unclear what would be acceptable to the army, which has lost thousands of soldiers fighting the Taliban and is considered the strongest institution in the country.

''The Taliban have been deceived in the past in the name of peace, so the government will have to take some steps before the start of talks to assure the Taliban that the government is serious about the peace process,'' Shahid said by telephone from an undisclosed location.

The government must release Pakistani Taliban militants it is holding prisoner and show that it is withdrawing soldiers from the tribal region along the border with Afghanistan, said Shahid.

''If the government does not take these two steps, the peace process cannot go forward,'' said Shahid.

Intelligence officials and militant commanders said the Taliban and the army exchanged a small number of prisoners last week as a confidence building measure ahead of talks, but the army denied the swap.

The army has carried out scores of operations against the Taliban in the tribal region, but the militants have proven resilient and continue to carry out regular attacks.

A roadside bomb killed one soldier and wounded another Sunday in the tribal region of North Waziristan, the main sanctuary for Taliban and Al Qaeda militants in the country, said military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with military policy.

On Saturday night, militants ambushed a group of tribal policemen riding in a vehicle near the northwest town of Bannu, killing two of them and wounding four others, the officials said. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Many observers are skeptical about peace talks with the Taliban since prior agreements with the militants have fallen apart. Critics say the deals simply gave the militants time to regroup and continue their fight against the state.

It's also unclear what room for compromise the Taliban and the government would find if they did sit down to negotiate. The militants have earlier criticized Pakistan's democratic system, demanded the imposition of Islamic law and stipulated the government must break off its alliance with the United States.

Even if the two sides could come to an agreement, it is unclear how well the Taliban could enforce it on their side. There are dozens of militant groups based in the tribal region with varying degrees of allegiance to the Taliban.

The US is wary of a peace deal because it could give Afghan Taliban militants greater space to conduct cross-border attacks against US-led troops in Afghanistan.

However, it could be hard for the US to push back against negotiations since it wants Pakistan's help in striking a peace deal with the Afghan Taliban.

The Afghan and Pakistani Taliban are allies but have focused on different targets. The Afghan Taliban have fought coalition troops in Afghanistan, while the Pakistani Taliban have largely focused on battling the Pakistani state.

The Pakistani Taliban indicated they were open to holding peace talks at the end of last year but withdrew that offer in May after the group's deputy leader was killed in a US drone strike.

Despite the Taliban's reluctance, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has continued to push for negotiations since he took office in June.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (41)

Ahsan
September 15, 2013 2:57 pm

This is such shameless behavior by the govt. So now you will eventually release all the taliban prisoners? Our soldiers died for this day? Did the people of swat and tribal agencies migrate for this? trade of prisoners. This is just making fuun of our martyred and injured both soldiers and civilians. You this is why people lose hop in Pakistan.

Tariq Mahmood
September 15, 2013 4:02 pm

It is sad to know that the Government chose to 'negotiate' with Taliban.

It is clear that Taliban are terrorists. There should be no compromise with terrorists - from any commonsense view & Islamic ruling.

The Taliban will destroy the sovereignty of Pakistan. They continue to kill with impunity daily. A terrorist can not offer any guarantee of peace nor should it be taken.

The only way is to plug the porous border with Afghanistan. To cut them from moving freely from the 2 countries. Their arms supply will dwindle only if the Pak forces indefinitely start to monitor their movements & take them out- after giving them - lets say 30 days to surrender their arms. In implementing this its imperative for the army to have quick access to air force cover. I suggest acquiring drones from countries which are willing to help- a realistic option is reverting to Iran for assistance. Drones should not be used for extrajudicial killing but for warfare. This exclusive use with specific legal framework needs to be enshrined in law separately, to prevent their use indiscriminately for other spying purposes within Pakistan against the citizens and for their use in the defense of our country exclusively.

It will be a long drawn battle - which the state can win now before they spread throughout the country & make Pakistan another Syria.

The politicians are requested to come out of the false hopes of negotiating with terrorists. Failing this we will lose the sovereignty of Pakistan.

Saleem
September 15, 2013 4:39 pm

Government should not negotiate with the killers of human being. The should be arrested and bring to justice. If Army or Government will negotiate they will demand more and trust me they will late commit sins again and they are the worst enemy of the humanity. DON"T NEGOTIATE. DON"T NEGOTIATE. ARREST THEM. HANG THEM. Pakistanis will hate you if you negotiate.

Mamataz
September 15, 2013 5:02 pm

It seems that the govt tried the heavy handed approach using the army, and it has not succeeded. So, what options are left? Very few. For the sake of peace, for common people's sake, let the govt agree t some of Taliban's demands and bring peace without which there will not be any economic development. Bringing the constitution into Sharia compliance is the first step.

fahad
September 15, 2013 5:23 pm

peace talk with taliban is a myth they are on a purpose .if they wanted peace they would have gone to afghanistan .its is not a fight between two tribes ,its a fight of ideology , and no body can change ideology by talking

Mohammad Ali Khan
September 15, 2013 5:39 pm

It is sad but true that Pakistanis are in a very difficult situation.Most politicians and bureaucrats are corrupt,and most people share many fanatic beliefs with Talibans.With this situation getting rid of terrorism and lawlessness is very difficult.

To defeat terrorism,Corruption and fanaticism have to be dealt with.

99
September 15, 2013 5:42 pm

They are not prisoners they are criminals, they should have been executed long ago. What are you going to negotiate with the terrorists?

Ga
September 15, 2013 5:56 pm

How predictable. Perhaps they should send in Imran Khan to negotiate since he claims to know these Neanderthals so well.

Faisal
September 15, 2013 6:29 pm

TTP has no has prisoner policy and excute any person they capture. on the other hand they need their Criminals to be released. Shame of us.

Azim
September 15, 2013 6:40 pm

Its a trap!

Why do these terrorist place pre-conditions when the GOP has not placed any. Very much shows the intentions!

Agha Ata
September 15, 2013 6:44 pm

They only have demands. They have nothing to offer; their main demand is to enforce SHARIA of their brand, and give them the power. If they had an iota of reasonablity, they wouldn't have killed innocent women and children.

The offer of "peace talk" for them is nothing but a sign of weakness and defeat of the government.

Hyder
September 15, 2013 7:35 pm

There is much defference between Pakistani taliban and Afghani talibans.

Tilikum
September 15, 2013 8:20 pm

"confidence building measures" ...this is a joke. TTP took the government into confidence by killing three soldiers including a General. There has been a number of peace pacts that have failed which only give TTP breathing time to resupply and swell their ranks. TTP is playing the government like a fool. How the saying goes "once bitten twice...

Naveed
September 15, 2013 8:58 pm

The Army needs to hit them hard; Give 24 hour notice so women and children can leave the area.

Ahmed
September 15, 2013 9:13 pm

The taliban claim that the have been "deceived in the past"!! If so many people had not been killed by these animals, and so much damage done to this poverty-stricken nation, this would have been laughable.

Naseer
September 15, 2013 9:29 pm

Pakistan has lost and Taliban have won. Thats why Pervaiz Musharraf is under house arrest.

raza aly
September 15, 2013 9:43 pm

pakistan should never release Taliban terrorist before the peace talk.They are not trust worthy, they are criminals.

IKE Khan
September 15, 2013 10:40 pm

"Confidence building measures" Isn't it the same argument that India makes? So, Taliban think that they are a country and have country like leverage? Please stop talking to Taliban. They are common criminals. It may take longer but eliminating them is the only way to lasting peace.

malik
September 15, 2013 10:43 pm

Free em all and give em some atom bombs for goodwill gesture.

M Rafique
September 15, 2013 11:13 pm

Negotiation is in the personal interest of Nawaz Sharif family to cover up the period they remain out of power. In evidence look at their attitude towards TTP in last five years in province of Punjab

M. Siddique
September 15, 2013 11:19 pm

No way. No one should release any murderer. In fact government should ask them to surrender arms before any negotiations or face destruction. Then use force to the fullest and crush them.

Alert
September 15, 2013 11:23 pm

Pakistani Govt. is sliding down the slippery-slope where the slide can slipping out of control. TTP knows this, if one can see the folly of negotiations!

Parvez
September 15, 2013 11:25 pm

They have just killed a Major General of the army...............they are negotiating from strength and they know it.

Tariq Mehsud
September 16, 2013 12:04 am

Talks/negotiations/ should only occur when they are disarmed.

Sohail
September 16, 2013 1:08 am

The situation is beyond the political goal scoring. I doubt if removal of armed troops is a political decision, it must have some deep thought army roots. Today's incident was a shocker as well as many other events in the past. Apparently there is no talk that can lead to a solution and the army has also not much of options, while we are still waiting for change of command. It is unclear situation, that has been with Pakistan for many decades in form or another that makes me very sad and concerned.

ssf
September 16, 2013 1:37 am

Talibans feel that Govt. is weak/soft and have no means to stop their bombing and killing of even local population including women and children, more over some in in military and Govt. sympathise and are in suppoort of their ideals such as sharia laws ect. so they can demand and may be they will get them.

Mo
September 16, 2013 2:11 am

@Mamataz:

This is the craziest and scariest idea. The more you give in to these groups, the more and more they want. There is no end to it. And in this day and age, Sharia Law is not a practical option for Pakistan or any nation. Come back to senses, please.

Aftab Kenneth Wilson
September 16, 2013 8:33 am

The matter of fact is this that it is too late to make any deal with these elements who are our own citizens. This is our own wrong doings and policies which has encouraged this mindset and nurtured them for their ulterior motives both on local and foreign issues. Their supporters are both in our legislative assemblies and public. Now either make them your servants or become their servants. Nothing short of this.....

Immad
September 16, 2013 9:39 am

Me and my kin are never going to vote for the parties which agreed to negotiate. PML N, PTI JI, JUI F and JUI S will never have many votes ever. They can still win the way are right now, rigging. And thanks a lot Mr Chief Justice of Pakistan for speaking against the family of Shahzeb but staying silent against these hypocrite political parties.

jawaid Ashraf
September 16, 2013 10:24 am

it should be proceed but on the same time its also very difficult for the Pakistani securities agency who sacrifice a lot in the name of war against terror and now talk to these people.

Muhammad Mujeeb
September 16, 2013 11:19 am

"The Pakistani Taliban demanded Sunday that the government release militant prisoners and begin withdrawing troops from the group's tribal sanctuary before they will participate in peace talks" So peace talk a.k.a negotiation is about withdrawal of troops, sparing them land and allowing them unquestioned conduct. So they grow strong, forcefully impose their ideology over the civilian population in the area and soon come back for more.

sarim hamza
September 16, 2013 11:41 am

use chemical weapons and wipe them out all..........

FR
September 16, 2013 1:31 pm

Negotiation is the only way forward. Latin America (FARC), Western Europe (IRA), Southern Europe (ETA) are some of the examples in front of us. My right hand is harming my left hand and I need to use my brain to stop that; the war is on for last 10 years yet no results. On top of that, the country is bankrupt. Karachi is burning, Baluchistan is slipping out of our hands, and we don't need to explain what's happening in KP. Making peace is difficult than fighting a war - it requires collective patience, courage, sacrifice and compromises. Let's come out of our emotion cloaks and wear the sanity hat for once.

gangadin
September 16, 2013 2:57 pm

Vacate their land, release all prisoners and withdraw troops from every where in Baluchistan and KP.

Imtiaz Faruqui
September 17, 2013 1:34 am

The Goverment of Pakistan have no guts to hang the the guilty criminals so far there are 500 waiting on the list. A Goverment made up of croupt MNA'S landlords, is a hallow Goverment they are not elected by the people of Pakistan, They buy votes and seats in the Parliment to sit on the chair. How the hell they can face the Talibans, the army is out of the barraks and like the luxury of the cities, they also can not fight the Talibans.

Hafiz
September 17, 2013 7:40 am

The TTP were the victims of Army's selective protection policy and TTP and Taliban expect more freedom to perform their duties in their tribal/other lands within confines of Pakistan. So many innocent TTP patriots were killed by Army's mindless operations in Waziristan, KP, SWAT, Baluchistan etc. It is time to provide breathing space to TTP and other groups so that they can amicably resolve towards the peace process initiated by the Hon'able Nawaz government. To build confidence for TTP, all their mates be released without a second thought. The country would embrace complete peace immediately thereafter...Amen!

Hafiz
September 17, 2013 7:42 am

Condolence building measures of the present government.

Bkh
September 17, 2013 12:46 pm

Is Pakistan in such a state that it is ready for talks with the criminal element in its society rather stamp it out of the society.

Bangladesh is doing the job matter in dealing with the fundamentalist element in its society.

Pakistan should lean from it.

Syed Adeel Haider
September 17, 2013 2:16 pm

Let every person in Pakistan die by these so-called Muslim animals but never strike any deal with them. How can you make peace with a bunch of animals who pride themselves on killing innocent children? Shame on you, the Taliban. If you so much love Islam and Allah, then please kill yourself and go to your heaven (hell in fact).

muhammad
September 17, 2013 8:23 pm

Government should immediately accept all their demands whatever they are and our Army should immediately surrender their arms before these Jehadis so that the can spread the Islam all our the world

Imran A.
September 18, 2013 1:38 am

Taliban remind me of the World war Z zombies who caught a virus and lost all feelings of humanity such as desiring to have a family or living a quality life. They will opt to die at the drop of a hat.

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