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Taliban announce ceasefire in Mardan

May 31, 2008

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MARDAN, May 30: Welcoming the provincial government’s offer for talks, a spokesman for the local Taliban on Friday announced a ceasefire in the district.

The spokesman, identifying himself as Maulvi Abdullah, addressed journalists at the Mardan Press Club on phone.

He said the Taliban had carried out a number of terrorist activities, including bomb blasts, rocket attacks and suicide bombing in protest against the military operation against them.

He said that recently three Taliban leaders had been killed by police in the Palo Dheri area.

He said: “We planted a bomb in a car near the City police station and carried out a suicide attacks in the Cantt Bakers in protest against the killing of our men.”

It may be mentioned that about three months ago police allegedly raided a house in Palo Dheri and rounded up some militants who had fired the police team, killing ASP Pervez Umrani and SHO Hoti Salimdad Khan.

Two militants and a man living in the house were killed when police fired back.

After a month, police killed one of their colleagues, Saeedul Haque, in an encounter near Bakshahli village.

Maulvi Abdullah said that the Taliban had avenged the killing of their colleagues with a bomb attack near the City police station on April 25.

Three people, including an ASI, were killed and several others were injured.

The suicide attack on the cantonment bakery on May 18 killed 12 people and injured 23 others.

He said that the Taliban wanted peace in the district and, therefore, accepted the offer for talks.

He said that the Taliban wanted enforcement of Shariah in the area and putting an end to the obscenity.

He said that provincial government was sincere in its offer for talks, but the real decision-makers were the NWFP governor, the central government and the armed forces who “are killing us at the behest of the American.”

Maulvi Abdullah said that the Taliban had accepted the offer for dialogue made by the provincial government led by the ANP.

He recalled that the local Taliban had earlier held talks with nazims and a peace agreement was validated and “we started attacks in the district.”

He said that the Taliban had decided to stop attacks on civilians and government installations in response to the provincial government’s offer for talks.