'Secret' talks with Taliban reach decisive phase

Published: January 3, 2012

While military denies dialogue, key TTP leaders confirm negotiations. PHOTO: FILE/AFP

ISLAMABAD: ‘Secret talks’ between Pakistan’s security agencies and the local Taliban – who have reportedly splintered down into many different groups – have entered a decisive phase.

Now both sides are hoping their negotiations will culminate in a ‘lasting’ agreement which will restore peace in the country’s lawless tribal lands.

“We have drawn the broader outlines for a possible accord. And what we’re now working on are minor details,” said an intelligence official, who claimed the results of the ‘year-long’ peace process would be unveiled shortly.

“Unlike the past, we are trying to have something workable and implementable this time around,” said the official referring to the failure of all three agreements the security institutions had had with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

“These are crucial times …we have to be extremely careful. A slight miscalculation can harm us in a big way,” the official, requesting anonymity, added in an apparent reference to changes in the regional war given the eventual withdrawal of the US-led international forces by 2014.

The spokesperson for the Pakistan Army did not respond to phone calls or text message to comment on this development. Publicly, the military denies having any talks with the militants.

Senior TTP associates also confirmed that these covert talks with the military establishment were reaching a climax and said there were several indications of things moving ahead.

Last month, sources added, TTP leader Maulvi Waliur Rehman Mehsud had ordered to halt the training of suicide bombers at several camps in South and North Waziristan.

“Now look how effective this thing alone is … it has never happened in four years that the TTP stops training its suicide bombers,” said Raqeebullah Mehsud, a young militant commander from the Ludha area of South Waziristan.

TTP and the deflections

Raqeebullah said TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud was not aware of these talks and he, along with a core group following his hard-line positions on talks with the government, was aware of these negotiations.

“He [Hakimullah] is out. At least people here think so,” Raqeebullah commented.

A security official also confirmed that the military was now rigorously chasing Hakimullah and his small group, into the Shawal Valley on the border between South and North Waziristan.

Though it could not be confirmed, some officials said the TTP chief might have crossed into Afghanistan after sudden defections of his loyalists to pro-Pakistan militant groups who were against launching attacks in the country’s mainland.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (46)

  • Mastuj
    Jan 3, 2012 - 9:39AM

    Inshallah. Inshallah we will rid ourselves of war and violence and move towards peace and education for all.

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  • faraz
    Jan 3, 2012 - 9:47AM

    That’s good, but a system must be in place to ensure that nobody violates the treaty. It must not allow TTP to regroup and reorganize

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  • Mirza
    Jan 3, 2012 - 9:57AM

    There is nothing new or secret. It is all withing the family!

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  • Jan 3, 2012 - 9:59AM

    These agreements will be used by the Taliban to rebuild and will fail just like all other agreements before.

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  • Jan 3, 2012 - 10:06AM

    if they establishment is successful in bringing the peace then why they didn’t brought the matters on table 8 years ago? aren’t they answerable to the nation??

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  • MarkH
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:06AM

    This clashes with another story. They recently announced that they intend to still go after security forces.
    Quoting from the article found at url listed below. “Taliban would also take revenge of what he called humiliation by security forces of tribal women, men and Mujahideen in the ongoing operation in Khyber agency.”
    http://www.dawn.com/2012/01/03/al-qaida-taliban-ask-pakistani-militants-for-help.html

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  • Patriotic
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:08AM

    I don’t know if it’ll prove to be a wise decision. Now that the TTP has splintered into factions, what better time than now to crush them once and for all??? Giving them space would help them to reorganize and restart their terrorist activities, and it would only cost us more lives and even more sacrifices in the future too. Sometimes, you just have to cling on to hope and pray that those in command know what they are doing instead of just taking the easy way out…

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  • ashok sai
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:11AM

    Many stated in the forum that TTP are Indian and American’s mercenaries, what they are going to tell now ? Isn’t this TTP thugs who had killed thousands of innocent civilians and why is it Pak army negotiate with them instead of going after them ? I wait for reply from army lovers.

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  • Ramin
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:29AM

    2nd time Powerful Pakistan army is surrendering!!!

    May God save the country!!!

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  • Adi
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:32AM

    @Ashok…you missed the point bro…the TTP has been brought to the negotiation table only `cause they have been weakend in the past 3 years by Pak Army and the “infmaous drone attacks” (the collateral damage of the latter is debatable though). You couldnt imagine TTP sitting on the table in 2008 with its strength was at peak. We soften the target and now we will have peace on our terms Inshaallah!

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  • Gabriel
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:33AM

    TTP is US sponsored taliban faction, they are used to counter the effect of Haqqani network, in return for engineering an end game for US americans have agreed to stop using TTP in pakistan, same is the case for drone strikes, they are on the halt as well, NATO supply is stopped to show that US and pakistan are not on the same side any more, and the list of recent developments goes on and on……………..

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  • MAHER ALI
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:36AM

    The fact is that TTP have very very deep roots in Pakistan and it seems extremely difficult for Army and ISI to cope up the problems. If with negotiations and dialogues things become smooth, I don’t think its a bad deal…

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  • Haris Farooq
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:38AM

    @ashok sai:
    Any effort to bring end to bloodshed should be welcomed. Trust me this peace process is also in the favor of Afghanistan and India. No hatred please.

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  • Waqas Butt
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:41AM

    It is good to convince them through dialogue then by military action, if this solution can more bring good. We need to ensure the peace and security in our country first. If afghan Taliban fights against the foreign occupation and throws them out from their homeland, then it is their right.

    Also @ashok, if we can negotiate with TTP and it stops them from following our enemies footsteps then what is wrong in it.

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  • NA
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:45AM

    @ashok sai:
    When US can declare Taliban as “friends” and starts peace talks with them, why not Pakistan negotiate with TTP. This is a good move by Army to install peace in the region.

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  • NA
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:51AM

    Suddenly US and Afghanistan started singing songs of Taliban friendship and put all guns towards Pakistan to continue this so called war on terror in her territory. If US/ Afg are thinking of getting peace in Afghanistan without Pakistan, they are living in fools’ paradise.

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  • yaqub
    Jan 3, 2012 - 11:12AM

    @ashok sai:
    My dear, there is no denying that there is a strong connection between TTP & India/USA.
    Unfortunately they are being used as pawns in the game to serve vested interests of India & USA. A weak and unstable pakistan serves US and indian interests,while on the contrary, strong and stable pakistan inhibits US ambitions to contain China and cutivate India a counter weight as well as regional tiger.

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  • Khurram
    Jan 3, 2012 - 11:25AM

    @ ashok, in TTP there is no indian, but some militants from india (supported and funded by RAW) was using the name of TTP and creating unrest in PAKISTAN, ( TTP itself was funded by CIA, MOUSAD, RAW but they are too much religious people they can not allow any non-muslim to be with them. and now we have to see what RAW does in tribal areas to again creat misshapp…ARMY is doing right by seperating RAW funded terrorist and Pakistani born extremists ( if some one kills any one’s family he will become extremist….thats the difference)

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  • R S JOHAR
    Jan 3, 2012 - 11:28AM

    TTP has disintegerated into various factions and even if the present talks are conclusive, chances of lasting peace would remain elusive.

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  • Kafka
    Jan 3, 2012 - 11:31AM

    There is something happening, today I saw two security check points being removed from the Blue area main road in Islamabad. A very good sign !!!!

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  • jannahprince
    Jan 3, 2012 - 11:49AM

    if you we will be keep fighting with each other we can never progress . this needs to be understood by every single Pakistani , if we want to progress in world and achieve our right place which is trillion times better than what we are in now , we have to make peace in ourselves , bring the right manager to run the country and leave everything else to Allah swt.

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  • Riaz Soomro
    Jan 3, 2012 - 11:50AM

    It is in the best intrest of Pakistan,but there should no conspiracy behind it. Friendship or animity should permanent but best intrests, I think it is best stratigy.

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  • Baber
    Jan 3, 2012 - 12:30PM

    @ashok sai: They are still indian/american influenced groups and have nothing to do with Jihand at all. When these mercinaries know they will be chased down and killed(the current army action in Balochistan), they usually switch sides.

    For once the deal has been finilised the Negotiatiors should open up the who secnario and put up front as who was actually backing these mercianries.

    Lets hope for the best and pray for peace in Pakistan and India and in the world….

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  • Rehman Malick
    Jan 3, 2012 - 1:05PM

    I advised Taliban to enter into Dialogue with Army and I THANK Taliban for same…!!

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  • Rasheed
    Jan 3, 2012 - 1:06PM

    It is the best opportunity for Mr. Pasha to save face and his job to unit all Taliban and al Qaida and send them after Nato and US forces in Afghanistan. Pray for the peace of Pakistan!!!

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  • Ihsan
    Jan 3, 2012 - 1:09PM

    Inshallah the year 2012 will bring peace, happines and prosperity to our beloved country.

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  • Acorn Guts
    Jan 3, 2012 - 1:54PM

    @ashok sai:
    Killing members of TTP will only gain us temporary control over this menace. What we need to really kill is the fundamentalist ideology behind Taliban. As for Indians and/or Americans being behind TTP, well no one on these forums can say that for sure and you know that. What we can say for sure is that the situation that TTP have created thus far in Pakistan and the situation they are capable of producing is a ripe target for any foreign agency to nourish either openly or through indirect means with aim to destabilise this country. I’d be surprised if this is not the case.

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  • Azmat
    Jan 3, 2012 - 2:17PM

    No Justice(tm) for the victims of TTP!

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  • Powerbaj
    Jan 3, 2012 - 3:00PM

    @yaqub:
    Wrong you are. Much as every one may think that India wants a weak Pakistan, the fact is that having a stable (but non hostile) neighbor is in India’s interest. And we Indians know this. Today Pakistan is a good buffer to us between the hordes of wild civilizations beyond Kyber and Bolan and us.

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  • ansa44
    Jan 3, 2012 - 3:15PM

    Taliban r ready 2 end the fight but they r worried that if they’ll disarm themselves , the ppl they v killed in their adjoining areas, will take revenge. so this issue is 2 b solved

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  • ansa44
    Jan 3, 2012 - 3:21PM

    @ashok sai:
    yea they r funded by american n indian govts. No doubt abt it. But that doesn’t mean they can b work out 2 cum out of trance. As india gives them money 2 die not 2 live while pak army will give them option 2 live happlily with their family. When the root causes r dealt with than situation changes. In india several independence movements r going on n they r blamed on pakistan but didn’t india talked with sikhs. naxilite n even the leaders of disputed part of kasmir

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  • vasan
    Jan 3, 2012 - 3:37PM

    There seems to be a general belief, inspite of lack of evidence/truth etc that RAW is behind TTP. The reason given is the motives, How wonderful or terrible life can be if wishes and motivations alone become reasons for judgement.

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  • antanu
    Jan 3, 2012 - 3:39PM

    @Pakhtun:
    why always negative thoughts?

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  • antanu
    Jan 3, 2012 - 3:41PM

    @Patriotic:
    You can kill people….not their ideologies. To eliminate the evil, common sense is required and that is to counter one ideology with another by sitting across the table. There is no other way out.Does NAZISM has been eliminated even after the death of Hitler?

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  • antanu
    Jan 3, 2012 - 3:44PM

    @NA:
    Because US is US and Pakistan is Pakistan. For Mr.Ashok, following US actions for others are noble but if Pakistan follows it , it is evil. What a biased mind.

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  • antanu
    Jan 3, 2012 - 3:46PM

    @Powerbaj:
    Thats common sense. Thats what I tried to convey on so many occasions…if Pakistan burns, India will also face the heat.

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  • Hasan Siftain Cheema
    Jan 3, 2012 - 4:10PM

    @ashok sai:
    Bhai you cannot win civil war, Thousand of other Pakistani who did not kill any one have sympathies with Talban

    Talban is not just a terrorist organization , its name of ideology , ARmy can’t fight ideology, better to negotiate with them, At the end we want just peace nothing else, Go Army

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  • Khurram
    Jan 3, 2012 - 4:36PM

    @ Powerbaj…which wild civilization of khyber and bolan you talking about? i just read a story of a 7 year old indian village girl sacrificed and her lever given to you god for the good crops?
    yes i admit there are some minor incidents of torture on women, but they exist every where in whole world, but we don’t sacrifice our girls for good crop and donate their lever to any one…..
    think a 100 times before you speak abt Pakistan civilization..bcs we got our country by dividing hindustan ALLHAMDULLILAH…

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  • pakistani
    Jan 3, 2012 - 5:53PM

    @umair:

    OH bhai..when america was attacking..who would hve called for peace talks..pakistan insisted but the world didnt listen.
    Now dont start with why do we listen to american..because they are technologically advcance and we have nothing which can scare them away..including our nukes..

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  • ashok sai
    Jan 3, 2012 - 6:09PM

    @ All those ranting about piece talks

    Taliban claimed responsibility for the 3 blasts which claimed at least 5 lives and injured many,
    Terrorism and Piece cannot go parallel, unless people with your mindset changes, scores of innocent will continue to lose their lives.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/01/03/world/asia/pakistan-violence/?hpt=ias_c2

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  • Roflcopter
    Jan 3, 2012 - 6:16PM

    Fantastic news.

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  • Beenish
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:05PM

    something on Pakistana and U.S. relations in 2011.

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  • Salman
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:50PM

    @umair:
    coz situation 8 yrs ago wasn’t same. Pak Army made sacrifices to defeat them and leave no other option for them to come to table. remember, security establishment is negotiating from a position of strength, and this was the design

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  • Ali Wali
    Jan 4, 2012 - 12:32AM

    Thank you establishment for trying to save us from your strategic asset, you are our godsent saviors. And to hell with victims of terror.

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  • HASAN MEHMOOD
    Jan 4, 2012 - 7:47PM

    Taliban will never surrender their right to shoot or slaughter anyone not following their brand of twisted Sharia. If that does not matter you are welcome to peace negotiations which basically are ceasefire agreements as per previous experience.Before getting excited remember that withdrawal of USA forces does not matter. They have publicly declared to strive for SHARIA (howsoever barbaric version) across the whole country. You can buy time by retreating in small steps but they will keep coming after you. Remember SWAT?
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  • Byron Mullet
    Jan 16, 2012 - 7:14PM

    Someone said, in order for the world to find peace it would take a common enemy of all to unite us. I offer “evil” as the one common enemy of all sides everywhere. Let us embrace “virtue” and all of the many virtues. Let us commit to teaching our children to shun evil and be virtuous in thought and deed. May we start with forgiveness of those who have wronged us and begin to love our enemy’s as ourselves. This is my/our prayer. May the great Creator God of all things help us find and keep the peace. Amen

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