TTP announce conditions for ceasefire

February 19, 2014

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n this Oct 5, 2013 photo, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Shahidullah Shahid speaks in an interview at an undisclosed location in Pakistan's tribal areas.—AP/File Photo
n this Oct 5, 2013 photo, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Shahidullah Shahid speaks in an interview at an undisclosed location in Pakistan's tribal areas.—AP/File Photo

PESHAWAR: The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Wednesday put forth their conditions for ceasefire, days after the militant group killed 23 Pakistan army soldiers in revenge for the killing of their colleagues.

Speaking from an undisclosed location, TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said that killing and dumping bodies of TTP members should immediately be stopped.

“Our fighters are being targeted, arrested and killed in fake police encounters. The government's negotiations team should ensure to our committee that this would immediately stop,” said the TTP spokesman.

“The government has killed more than 60 Taliban since the start of the peace talks, in Karachi and the rest of Pakistan, under a secret operation codenamed Operation Root Out,” Shahid said.

Shahid said that a ceasefire may be reached if the government ensures to the committee that their demands will be met.

“The killings of soldiers in Mohmand were in response to the onslaught on Taliban members by security forces during the talks between government and Taliban committees,” he added.

Peace talks between to end years of violence by the militant group reached a deadlock earlier this week after the killing of the 23 soldiers.

The soldiers had been kidnapped from Shongari checkpost in Mohmand tribal region in 2010 and were killed in captivity to avenge what they called the custodial killing of their ‘fighters’ in various parts of Pakistan.

Following the killings, a four-member team of government negotiators said it would not be able to carry forward the talks process in the wake of continuing deadly attacks by the militants.

The announcement Wednesday came just after a member of the Taliban nominated peace talks committee, Maulana Yousuf Shah, vowed to break the deadlock in negotiations.

“People should not be disappointed as the negotiations process is still ongoing. There was a deadlock before as well but we were able to break it with maturity,” Shah told reporters in Peshawar.

“Maulana Samiul Haq is in direct contact with the Taliban. We will restore peace at any cost,” he added.