WASHINGTON: After reports emerged of peace negotiations between the Pakistani Taliban and Pakistan government, the US said that they would not like to see recent gains made by the Pakistani military against the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan to be lost.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, White House spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on Saturday said that the White House had seen reports of the TTP entering into negotiations with Pakistan, however, she added, they “do not appear definitive at this point.”
Earlier on Saturday, Reuters reported that Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, the TTP commander of the Bajaur faction, had confirmed that they were in negotiations with Pakistan. Reuters quoted the militant commander as saying, “If negotiations succeed and we are able to sign a peace agreement in Bajaur, then the government and the Taliban of other areas such as Swat, Mohmand, Orakzai and South Waziristan tribal region will sign an agreement. Bajaur will be a role model for other areas.”
Hayden said that the White House was not in a position to comment on the details of any such talks. “Our overall views on reconciliation are well known as is our view that Pakistan has an important role to play. When it comes to the TTP, we continue to underscore to Pakistan that groups such as the TTP threaten Pakistan and the region,” said Hayden.
The White House spokesperson added, “persistent safe-havens continue to allow Al Qaeda, the TTP and others to destabilise Pakistan.” Hayden also said that “The Pakistani military has made advances against the TTP, and we would not want to see these gains lost. We also continue to be concerned about militant violence against Pakistani civilians.” The White House spokesperson said that they would continue to watch the situation closely.