Pakistani Taliban announce ceasefire with government


The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan announced that it would implement a ceasefire lasting one month in order to continue to conduct peace talks with the Pakistani government. The announcement took place the same day that 11 tribal policemen and civilians were killed in attack targeting a polio vaccination team in Pakistan's northwest.

The announcement of the ceasefire was made in a statement released today by Shahidullah Shahid, the Taliban's main spokesman.

"The [Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan] is a responsible organization which works through the consensus of a higher council and an Amir [leader] for decision making," the statement said, according to The Express Tribune. "[T]he decision has been taken in view of the appeal made by the ulema [legal clerics], in honor of the representative committee and for the betterment of Islam and the country."

"The senior leadership of the Taliban advises all subgroups to respect the Taliban's call for a ceasefire and abide by it and completely refrain from all jihadi activities in this time period," the statement continued, RFE/RL reported.

Shadid's announcement occurred as jihadists in the Khyber tribal agency killed 10 Khasadars, or tribal policemen, who were guarding a polio vaccination team, and a child in IED attacks. It is unclear if the attack in Khyber occurred before or after Shadid's statement was issued.

The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan's announced ceasefire takes place after peace talks between the government and the jihadist group collapsed. The Taliban had accused security forces of conducting assassinations and executing prisoners, and in turn executed 23 captured Frontier Corps troops. The military responded by launching airstrikes against the Taliban in North Waziristan, Khyber, and Hangu.

Other jihadist groups in Pakistan are unlikely to adhere to the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan's ceasefire. A group of jihadists recently split from the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan and formed Ahrar-ul-Hind. Although the group said it is still "brothers" with the Taliban, it vowed to continue to conduct attacks inside Pakistan's cities and said it would not abide by any peace agreement. [See LWJ report, Pakistani jihadists form Ahrar-ul-Hind, vow to continue attacks.]

Over the past several years, the Pakistani government and the military have cut numerous peace deals with the Taliban, only to have them collapse. The peace agreements, which have been struck throughout the tribal areas and in Swat and other settled districts in the northwest, required the Taliban to accept the writ of the state and eject "foreigners," or al Qaeda and allied groups, from their areas. But the Taliban have refused to abide by the agreements, and instead have established mini-Islamic emirates while continuing to expand their control into neighboring areas.

Peace agreements are still in effect in South Waziristan in areas controlled by the Mullah Nazir Group, and in North Waziristan with the Hafiz Gul Bahadar Group. Both groups, which are not part of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, are considered "pro-government Taliban" by the Pakistani military and government as they do not advocate attacks against the state. The Nazir and Bahadar Taliban groups continue to shelter al Qaeda and other terror organizations, however, and conduct attacks inside Afghanistan.



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READER COMMENTS: "Pakistani Taliban announce ceasefire with government"

Posted by desire at March 1, 2014 4:04 PM ET:

Amazing how fast the Taliban announce a ceasefire once their butts start getting incinerated by the Army.

All this ceasefire will do is allow the Taliban to regroup, refortify and repopulate. How anyone can believe you can negotiate with a group of terrorists with an untenable agenda is beyond comprehension.

The Army had the momentum and the targets in sight. Shame on them for being foolish enough to believe that the Taliban will ever cede one iota of their twisted ideology in exchange for peace.

Posted by Kenny at March 1, 2014 11:11 PM ET:

I'll be interested to see how this develops. Is it just posturing? Or is it progress?

Posted by Fred at March 2, 2014 12:08 PM ET:

I don't know, the fact that Ahrar ul Hind broke off implies that the main group is at least somewhat serious about negotiations. The attack with such close timing to the announcement might imply that as well, if it's related at all. Of course, just because a portion of the leadership is serious about negotiations doesn't mean that they can actually ensure that peace happens.

Terrorist groups do make peace, you know. And splinter groups often keep the fight alive afterward (GSPC after GIA in Algeria, for example). I wouldn't take their word for it but this might be an opportunity to significantly weaken the enemy, if they're serious and the Pakis can make it happen.

Posted by Devendra Sood at March 2, 2014 2:59 PM ET:

It is obvious to even a retard, except to the Pakistani Government, that the only solution to the Taliban problem in Pakistan is an Army action which will once and for all eliminate these vermin. The problem is that these terrorists were raised, nurtured, supported and encouraged by the same Government in the past to destabilize India in Kashmir and have a pliant and obsequious Government in Afghanistan. So, now that these terrorists have turned on the Pakistani Government, it is befuddled how to handle their old friends. They just wish these terrorists would accept democracy, give up arms and stop fighting jihad and for implementation of Sharia in Pakistan and the region. GOOD LUCK.

Posted by chris at March 2, 2014 3:14 PM ET:

the Talib will machine gun a bus of girls or bomb a market

Posted by EDDIED. at March 2, 2014 5:10 PM ET:

A cease fire......they say.....what a joke. Just like desire said, they are just regrouping.
When they lay their weapons down and put up their hands then the order for ceasefire should be given.

Posted by Joe at March 2, 2014 5:15 PM ET:

Pakistan is as much a figment of the imagination as a real state. They simply do not possess the resources or the fortitude for what this sort of struggle would require.

Unfortunately for all concerned, the Taliban know this better than anyone.

Posted by M. Muthuswamy at March 2, 2014 11:38 PM ET:

Mr. Sood, according to a 2013 poll, 45% of those polled in Pakistan feel that their country's laws do not closely follow sharia.

A whopping 75% of those polled in Pakistan support harsh sharia laws (the kind demanded by the Taliban).

The so-called "vermin" thought is the dominant narrative vis-à-vis sharia.

Pakistan is a no-win situation.

By the way, Indian Muslims are following in their Pakistani brethren's foot-steps; An Indian Taliban jihadist group modeled after the Pakistani Taliban has formed in the central Indian city of Aurangabad.

Posted by dileep at March 3, 2014 2:00 AM ET:

Awesome how quick the Taliban declare a ceasefire once their grows begin getting incinerated by the Military.

Posted by Barry Larking at March 3, 2014 3:22 AM ET:

The 'Talib' bombed a courthouse instead, chris. The Law, you see, is not Allah's Law …

A Pakistani friend told me that the people in this region (the administrative national borders hereabouts are a fiction drawn up by the British) are not to be trusted; the infamous destruction of an entire British army in 1846 came after assurances were given for 'safe passage' through the Kyber Pass. There is no negotiation to be had; this creature has as many heads as are needed and the 'Great Game' is the gift that goes on giving.

As an old British saying has it "Around the world you can buy anyone; you only rent an Afghan".

Posted by @Afaerl at March 3, 2014 4:01 AM ET:

Apologies to post off-topic, but this is URGENT!

Our troops in Afghanistan get supplies through RUSSIA! Putin will cut them off because of Ukraine. We must not forget them! Get them out now, before it is too late!