Pakistan’s government denied media reports that it is holding peace talks with the country’s Taliban militants, even as an unidentified commander of the movement was cited as saying a truce has been declared.
The deputy commander of the Pakistani Taliban movement has been killed in a U.S. drone strike in the country’s tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing officials it didn’t name.
Pakistan Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif said an offer of peace talks from the country’s Taliban insurgents should be taken seriously to end militant violence that has ravaged the country for more than a decade.
Mohammad Shakir Afridi has watched U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan since the first Americans landed in the country 10 years ago. As president of the Khyber Transport Association, one of the largest groups of truck owners in Pakistan, Afridi’s biggest contract involves moving military equipment for American and coalition forces through Pakistan to military bases in Afghanistan. The slightest policy shift in Washington can carry consequences for Afridi and his business.
Taliban factions in Pakistan have agreed to end attacks that risk killing civilians and stop kidnapping for ransom while continuing suicide strikes against security forces, The News reported, citing a militant spokesman.
Pakistan released eight more members of Afghanistan’s Taliban movement, including former regional governors and ministers, as it bids to help create conditions for substantial negotiations with insurgents.
The political party led by Imran Khan formed a government in Pakistan’s militancy ravaged northwest, where his call for an end to army offensives against the Taliban and U.S. drone strikes resonated with voters.