The Pakistani government continues its negotiation with the Taliban throughout the Northwest Frontier Province and the tribal areas along the Afghan border. Negotiations are under way with the local Taliban in the settled district of Mardan.
Negotiations between the government and the local Taliban in Mardan started this week, according to a Taliban spokesman named Maulvi Abdullah. The spokesman contacted the Mardan Press Club via phone, Dawn reported, and said the Taliban have called a ceasefire after the government initiated negotiations. The Taliban are seeking the imposition of sharia, or Islamic law, and “putting an end to the obscenity” in Mardan.
Abdullah admitted the Taliban in Mardan “carried out a number of terrorist activities, including bomb blasts, rocket attacks and suicide bombing in protest against the military operation” targeting the extremists, Dawn reported. He took credit for the May 18 suicide attack at a bakery in Mardan that killed 13 Pakistanis and wounded 22. He also admitted the Taliban conducted attacks against police, including a bombing of a police station.
Mardan is the latest region in northwestern Pakistan where the Pakistani government has initiated peace talks with the Taliban. Peace agreements have been signed between the government and the Taliban in North Waziristan, Swat, Bajaur, and Mohmand, and talks under way in South Waziristan and Kohat.
For more information on the terms of the peace agreements in Swat, Bajaur, North Waziristan, and Mohmand, and the proposed terms for the agreements in South Waziristan and Kohat, see:
Pakistan is negotiating a new peace agreement with Baitullah Mehsud (South Waziristan)
Pakistan releases Taliban leader, signs peace deal with outlawed Taliban group (Bajaur, Malakand Division)
See The Fall of Northwestern Pakistan: An Online History for more information on the rise of al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan and the history of peace agreements signed between the government and the Taliban.