TANK/PESHAWAR, Feb 6: Tehrik-i-Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud declared a unilateral ceasefire in South Waziristan on Wednesday after the security forces started vacating positions in some key places.
“Since the army has minimised the scale of operations, the Taliban shura decided to halt activities across the country for an indefinite period,” Maulvi Umar, Mr Mehsud’s spokesman, told Dawn by phone.
“No, there is no secret deal with the government. This is our unilateral decision,” the spokesman said in reply to a question whether militants had struck a fresh deal with the security forces.
Mr Umar said the shura meeting that endorsed the truce was held at a secret place.
Army spokesman Maj-Gen Athar Abbas said: “The Army has not received any formal announcement regarding a ceasefire. Troops have not stopped the operation and it will continue till all strategic objectives are achieved. “We are waiting and monitoring the situation. It could be a strategic move by the militants.”
In reply to a question about the army’s objectives, he said all hideouts and positions of the militants would be wiped out.
Sources said the army had started vacating positions in several areas, including Nawaz Kot and Kotkai, which had been captured after a pitched battle.
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