Pakistani military denies role in talks with Taliban

The Pakistani military has issued a statement denying any role in ongoing peace talks with the Taliban. A statement of denial was released at the military’s Inter-Services Public Relations:

Strongly and categorically refuting media reports, a spokesperson of ISPR said that Army is not undertaking any kind of negotiations with TTP [Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan] or its affiliated militant groups. Such reports are concocted, baseless and unfounded, he added.

Any contemplated negotiation/reconciliation process with militant groups has to be done by the Govt, the spokesperson concluded.

The denial comes as an unnamed Pakistani Taliban leader claimed that there has been a cease-fire in effect for the past month as the Taliban began peace talks.

Keep in mind that the Pakistani Taliban have made three major demands of the government:

1) The government end its support of the US, to include the hosting of Pakistani supply lines for NATO forces in Afghanistan, and no longer permit US drones to attack in the tribal areas.

2) The government free all Taliban and allied commanders and fighters currently in prison.

3) The imposition of Sharia, or Islamic law, nationwide.

The Pakistani Taliban have been particularly incensed over the drone strikes, which have killed several of their senior leaders, as well as many of the al Qaeda operatives and leaders hosted by the Taliban. It is difficult to imagine any deal being struck between the two parties that does not meaningfully deal with the drone strikes. If the Pakistani government is serious about trying to make peace with the Taliban, it will have to give more than lip service on the drones. And this will conflict with the US’s attempts to hunt down top al Qaeda leaders in the region. The US has made the drones strikes the centerpiece of its strategy in dealing with al Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

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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