Taliban dictate terms of talks

Published: September 16, 2013

“First, army troops should pull out from the entire tribal area. And second, our prisoners should be released,” says TTP spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID/FILE

DI KHAN: It appears the Taliban want to exploit the government’s quest for peace as they seek maximum concessions ahead of any peace negotiations.

The outlawed Tehreek-eTaliban Pakistan (TTP) – which claimed responsibility for Sunday’s rare high-ranking military casualties – said that it would not negotiate with the government unless two preconditions were met.

“First, army troops should pull out from the entire tribal area. And second, our prisoners should be released,” TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid told reporters by phone from an undisclosed location.

“We cannot move forward unless the government accepts these two demands… it must take steps which can develop an atmosphere of trust and can remove the doubts and suspicion,” Shahid said. “We are not going to waste precious time over useless negotiations, like those held in the past.”

According to Shahid, the two preconditions were agreed upon in a recent meeting of the TTP’s Central Shura, or decision-making council, in North Waziristan Agency. The Shura discussed for three days the government’s offer of peace talks.

It is unclear the Pakistan Army would accept such demands, especially after Sunday’s killing of its senior officers.

“The events of last 24 hours clearly suggest that the TTP is not serious for peace talks,” said a security official, who wished to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity ofthe issue. He said the army was accessing the situation and would give its input to the government in view of the surge in militant attacks.

The TTP spokesman said the government has not contacted the group thus far to prepare the ground for possible talks.

About the exchange of prisoners and list of detainees, Shahid said the moves could have been undertaken by a splinter group, but were never sanctioned by the TTP’s central leadership.

Politicians last week backed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s calls to begin talks with homegrown militants. Representatives from the main coalition and opposition parties, who attended the all parties conference, asked the government to initiate the dialogue.

Previous peace deals with the Taliban had quickly broken down and been sharply criticised for allowing militants time to regroup before fresh attacks.

(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM AFP)

on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook

Reader Comments (17)

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Sep 16, 2013 - 4:25AM

    Dear Taliban, please come and take whatever you want. If our government had been so powerful to meet your demands, you would be rather begging not demanding.

    Recommend

  • Usman
    Sep 16, 2013 - 4:47AM

    It is unclear the Pakistan Army would accept such demands, especially after Sunday’s killing of its senior officers.

    Pakistan Army? The Pakistani Nation does not accept such demands. The time for portraying the Army as an institution disconnected from Pakistan is gone, the time for scapegoating and maligning the soldiers and their generals who lead from the front to protect lives of ordinary Pakistanis is gone. This is not 2008, this is 2013, its time to stand shoulder to shoulder with your Army if you want to survive.

    Recommend

  • Aarvey, India
    Sep 16, 2013 - 4:48AM

    The fun is just beginning. Will Pakistani politicians ever learn?

    Recommend

  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Sep 16, 2013 - 5:21AM

    Who could negotiate from a point of strength, if the government is in a position to say no to these kinds of demands then this will be a good start. Negotiation are done with out any pre-conditions from either party, in case of Upper Dir,s murderous act, it seems it could have been financed and encouraged by those who are interested in the destabilization of Pakistan. Pakistan also has friends and enemies, some are adamant to punish and destabilize Pakistan for reasons not cooperating as they wished and on their terms, on the war on terror which is perpetual. Pakistan is a State and States should negotiate from the point of strength and not the other way around.

    Recommend

  • Iron hand
    Sep 16, 2013 - 5:30AM

    Lets say Pakistan agrees to these preconditions for talks, releases all prisoners and withdraws all forces in exchange for the priviledge of talking to the Taliban. What does the government then have to offer the Taliban in exchange for peace, other than unconditional surrender of the country?

    Recommend

  • ModiFied
    Sep 16, 2013 - 5:42AM

    “First, army troops should pull out from the entire tribal area. And second, our prisoners should be released,”

    Which effectively means Taliban rule in these areas. Pakistan can not win this war unless whole nation is on single page. TTB’s civilian support base will have to be demolished first. I view this as a do and die situation for Pakistani state.

    Recommend

  • Real Truth
    Sep 16, 2013 - 5:50AM

    Dear PM Nawaz, For God Almighty’s sake, and in the interest of salvaging any self-respect that we as Pakistanis have left, PLEASE ABANDON THE IDEA OF ANY TALK WITH THESE ANIMNALS, and prepare for a Sri Lanka-type operation. The same day these animals have killed Pak Army’s general, they are rubbing the salt into this nation’s wounds by coming up with pre-conditions for dialogue. If Sri Lanka can do it, we can do it too! Don’t fool yourself, and save this nation further demoralization! No talks with these animals, we NEED TO ANNIHILATE TALIBAN AND OTHER TERRORISTS!

    Recommend

  • Shuaib
    Sep 16, 2013 - 5:51AM

    The conditions should be accepted provided they turn over their arms and names of all their members and their wearabouts and all their ammunition is handed ove to the government.

    Recommend

  • aqib
    Sep 16, 2013 - 5:58AM

    It is a feeling of sadness for us, that a militia dictates such terms to a nuclear armed country. What kind of leadership we have. There was Quaid-e-Azam Jinnah, and now we have the current lot.

    Recommend

  • Omar Farooq
    Sep 16, 2013 - 6:06AM

    And IK wants to negotiate! You lost my support Khan. You prefer the lives of these terrorists more then our Pak Army.

    Recommend

  • Professor
    Sep 16, 2013 - 6:12AM

    The Taliban is indirectly asking Pakistan to surrender to them.

    Recommend

  • Naseer
    Sep 16, 2013 - 6:23AM

    Peace talks are nothing but a surrender by our army and politicians. Talibans are already behaving like the winners, Like it or not, Talibans have all the right to act like victors – thanks to so much divided Pakistan, Imran Khan and PML(N).

    Recommend

  • Najmee
    Sep 16, 2013 - 6:50AM

    Might is right!

    Recommend

  • Feroz
    Sep 16, 2013 - 10:07AM

    While the entire World know the intentions of the Taliban, their goal and methods, the Pakistan Government seems clueless and frozen in time. If Pakistan had believed in the adage “One rotten apple spoils the lot”, all strategic Assets would have been neutered. Everybody seems to be enjoying the Tamasha unfolding while those entrusted with securing the Nation are drowning in their self created delusions.

    Recommend

  • Professor
    Sep 16, 2013 - 1:58PM

    @aqib:
    Nukes are useless when a nation is economically vulnerable. The Soviet Union had more nukes than the US. They still could not avert breaking up. It is economic might that counts.

    Recommend

  • a&a
    Sep 16, 2013 - 2:17PM

    @Real Truth:
    101%
    No second option…..
    PTI & PMLn are just fooling us.

    Recommend

  • Naseer Ahmad
    Sep 16, 2013 - 3:43PM

    @Real Truth
    If Sri Lanka can do it, we can do it too! Don’t fool yourself, and save this nation further demoralization!
    Do we have Mr Jeywerdhne, Mr Premadassa and Ms Chandrekha Kumara Tunga in our civilian leadership?Recommend

More in Pakistan