Pakistan moves forward with Taliban negotiations


The News provides further evidence that the Pakistani government is seeking a negotiated settlement with the Taliban in South Waziristan. The full article is reproduced below:

The Mehsud tribal elders from South Waziristan are in a fix as they are wondering how they would be able to get hold of the 378 militants wanted by the government.

The list of 378 militants and their supporters was delivered to the Mehsud elders by the political agent of South Waziristan, Syed Shahab Ali Shah, in a meeting here Tuesday. The list reportedly contains the names of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) head Hakeemullah Mehsud and other 18 top wanted militants for whose capture the government has announced head money. They included Waliur Rahman, Qari Hussain and Azam Tariq.

In fact, the political administration handed over a list of four demands to the Mehsud elders during a jirga. The political agent asked the elders to extend full support to the government initiative for the restoration of peace and tranquility in the region.

Explaining the four points, he said the jirga had to hand over 378 wanted militants and their supporters to the administration without any further delay. Second, he said the use of heavy weapons would be strictly prohibited and if anyone committed violation, the elders of the respective area would hand over that person to the administration.

Establishing a parallel administrative or judicial system by anyone anywhere in the tribal agency will not be allowed, the political agent said, adding that only those tribesmen having personal enmities and disputes would be provided shelter.

Shahab Ali said the elders would not harbour anti-state elements and residents of settled areas hiding in the tribal agency. The Mehsud elders sought time until December 30 for consultations. However, they know that it would be difficult if not impossible for them to force or persuade the TTP militants to lay down arms and surrender to the administration.

Having closely followed the Pakistan military and government’s past negotiations with the Taliban, I can say the current process The News reported above as well as signals by the government last week mirrors the negotiating process for past peace agreements. The government brings in tribal leaders and/or religious groups to serve as intermediaries, then hammers out an agreement that includes several or all of the following points:

• The tribes cannot shelter “foreigners” [code for al Qaeda].

• The tribes cannot shelter Taliban leaders or fighters.

• The tribes must turn over Taliban leaders and fighters.

• The Taliban must turn in their weapons.

• No parallel government can be established.

Each time, the agreement is signed, the military and government hail the ‘peace agreement’ as the political solution to end military operations, and the military quickly or slowly withdraws. The tribes do not fulfill their end of the bargain in the ‘peace agreement,’ the Taliban return to reassert control, and al Qaeda keep their camps and safe houses.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • KnightHawk says:

    These people clearly lack the ability to learn from past, even if it’s only a year ago. Unreal.

  • Paul says:

    Let them negotiate all they want…cowards. Leave it to the US to go in get who we want. Our justification becomes defense of America. Sorry Pak if you are chicken to take on the Taliban on then we will….and we will complete the job once and for all. AQ/Taliban same disease…. different symptoms.

  • Render says:

    Rinse and repeat…


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