TTP extends ceasefire till May 30 after ‘successful’ talks



PESHAWAR:

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has agreed to extend the ceasefire with Pakistan till May 30 following a meeting with a Pakistani delegation led by Peshawar Corps Commander Lt Gen Faiz Hameed at Kabul’s Serena Hotel this week.

In addition to the Pakistani military delegation that included officials of the Military Intelligence (MI) and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the terror outfit also held talks with Mehsud and Malakand jirgas to reach a peace deal amid an increase in terror incidents in the tribal districts bordering Afghanistan.

Sources close to the development told The Express Tribune that Gen Hameed-led delegation held direct talks with the TTP top leadership on the assurances of the Haqqani Network. “The Pakistani military and later the Mesud and Malakand jirgas have held separate meetings in the compound since Monday,” the sources added.

In its meeting with the military leadership, the Taliban put forth a series of demands in exchange for a ceasefire. The Taliban’s demands included the release of their commanders, including the mid-stage commanders facing life terms and death sentences, financial support to militants repatriated from Afghanistan, and a general amnesty for the families of the Taliban fighters.

Read Afghan Taliban push for Pakistan-TTP peace deal

The Taliban also demanded an end to military operations in North and South Waziristan tribal districts along with an end to search operations in the merged tribal districts. The Pakistani military told the Taliban to cease cross-border attacks, extend the ceasefire, and let the fencing along the Pak-Afghan border continue.

Similarly, a 32-member delegation of the Mehsud tribe met the TTP leadership in Khost. The meeting also included a 16-member committee comprising representatives from other districts to take up their demands with the TTP.

It may be noted here that on May 7 a grand jirga in South Waziristan formed a 35-member committee to broker talks between the army and the TTP. The army had given a deadline to the Mehsud tribe to evacuate the area so that they could conduct an operation.

TTP spokesperson confirms meetings

TTP spokesman Muhammad Khurasani acknowledged the meetings and disclosed that on demands of the tribal elders the ceasefire with the Pakistani forces had been extended to May 30.

On May 10, the TTP announced a five-day extension in the ceasefire reached between the Pakistan Army and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on account of Eidul Fitr.

The TTP had also warned its fighters against defying the order, directing them to avoid skirmishes with security forces till further orders.





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