The outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Wednesday announced an extension in a ceasefire with the government of Pakistan as talks with the militant group continued in Afghanistan.
In a statement shared with the media via WhatsApp, TTP spokesman Mohammad Khurasani said that the ceasefire would remain in place until May 30.
"Talks are under way between the committees of the TTP and the government of Pakistan," he said in the statement, adding that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan — the Afghan Taliban — was mediating between the two sides.
Khurasani went on to say that a 32-member committee of the Mehsud tribe in South Waziristan and a 16-member committee from the Malakand division also held talks with the TTP on May 13 and 14.
"The committees called for a ceasefire by both sides in light of the ongoing talks. Therefore, keeping in view the demand, both sides have announced a ceasefire until May 30,” he said.
The Afghan Taliban also confirmed the talks in Kabul, with government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid saying the Islamic Emirate played the role of a mediator.
In a series of tweets in Pashto, he reported "significant progress" in the talks and also shared that a ceasefire had been agreed upon.
"The Islamic Emirate Afghanistan, in a good faith, is making efforts to take the process forward. We hope that both sides will be accommodating and show flexibility," he said.
Dawn.com reached out to Pakistani officials for comment and is currently awaiting a response.
A Pakistani embassy source in Kabul confirmed the visit of the Pakistani delegation but remained tightlipped about the composition of the team and the details of the talks.
TTP attacks on Pakistani soil have of late witnessed an uptick.
The previous PTI government and the TTP had agreed to a month-long ceasefire to hold talks last year. However, the militant group had declined to extend the ceasefire after the one-month period ended, accusing the government of failing to honour the decisions reached earlier.
Earlier this month, AFP had reported that another ceasefire, agreed for the Eid period, had been been extended until May 16 in order to hold peace talks. A TTP letter outlining the truce had told fighters "not to violate the decision taken by the central command".
Reports had also emerged about the release of two key TTP leaders, Muslim Khan and Mahmood Khan, and their subsequent handover to the Afghan Taliban. Both leaders were on the list of over 100 detainees, the release of whom is one of the group's key demands.
However, the TTP spokesman did not comment on the matter when asked by Dawn.com. "I do not have any confirmed information about the prisoners," Khurasani said.