Pakistani Taliban agree to extend truce
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Pakistani Taliban on Wednesday agreed to extend a ceasefire during the first round of direct peace negotiators with a government committee in North Waziristan Agency, a media report said.
Government and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) representatives met after the talks were twice postponed due to bad weather prevented a helicopter from flying to the insurgent stronghold near the Afghanistan border.
One Pakistani TV channel, monitored here, quoted unnamed sources as saying that the Taliban had agreed the truce would remain in force as long as the talks continued to make progress.
According to Express News, former ambassador Rustam Shah Mohmand, Additional Chief Secretary Arbab Arif, Secretary Habibullah Khattak and Additional Secretary to Prime Minister Fawad Hasan Fawad represented the government.
Maulana Samiul Haq, the head of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema Islam, Jamaat-i-Islami leader Professor Ibrahim and JUI-S spokesperson Maulana Yousaf Shah attended the meeting as Taliban intermediaries.
The TTP positively responded to the demands for an indefinite ceasefire and the release of non-combatant prisoners. Its representatives asked the government committee if they had been delegated with decision-making powers. The committee members replied in the affirmative.
Shahidullah Shahid, the TTP spokesman confirmed the two sides had agreed on extending the truce and an exchange of non-combatants prisoners. He sought regular patrols by security forces in the area have to be curtailed.
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