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'Too early' to lay down arms: banned TTP on reported peace talks with govt

Sources say the PTI-led government has asked banned TTP to lay down arms and surrender

By Web Desk
November 05, 2021
Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

PESHAWAR: Banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan maintains that it would be "too early" to lay down arms on the PTI-led government's request to surrender, sources within the Afghan Taliban said Friday.

Sources told Geo News that the Pakistani government has asked the banned organisation to give in and Afghan Taliban commander Sirajuddin Haqqani is playing a key role in the peace talks to make the negotiations a success.

However, the group has demanded the government to release their members from the prison before the desired ceasefire, saying that it would be "too early to" surrender. 

The government has not reacted to the demands of the banned outfit yet, the Afghan Taliban sources said, adding that negotiations could be successful if strong guarantors are provided and the outfit's conditions are accepted.

According to the sources, the chief of the banned TTP Mufti Noor Wali is leading the talks from the group's side.

They added that while some factions of the banned TTP are in favour of holding talks with the Pakistani government, others are still taking a hardline approach.

Pakistan in talks with TTP factions for disarmament: PM Imran Khan

It should be recalled that last month, Prime Minister Imran Khan had admitted that his government was in disarmament talks with some factions of the banned TTP as Pakistan sought stability in the country in the backdrop of a fast-evolving situation in Afghanistan.

PM Imran Khan, speaking to TRT World’s Ali Mustafa in Islamabad, said: "I think some of the Pakistani Taliban groups actually want to talk to our government. You know, for some peace, for some reconciliation."

When asked to confirm whether Pakistan is actually in talks with the TTP, the premier had clarified to say that talks are ongoing "with some of them".

He had said that the Afghan Taliban are "helping", in the sense that the talks are taking place in Afghanistan.

The premier had said that these talks, for disarmament, if successful, will lead to the government "forgiving" them, "and then they [will] become normal citizens".

Stressing that he does expect some sort of deal to emerge with the TTP, he said: "I do not believe in military solutions. I am anti-military solutions. So, I always believe that you know, as a politician, political dialogue is the way forward, which I always believed was the case in Afghanistan with the US."

The premier had noted he always believed that a non-military solution was the only way forward for Afghanistan — and he has reiterated it time and again on national, international forums.

The premier's announcement was met with stiff resistance and outrage by the Opposition.

TTP announce suspension of hostilities in South Waziristan

Early last month, a cessation in hostilities between the TTP, Pakistan fighters in South Waziristan, and the army was announced by the outlawed group in a statement.

Our leaders have asked all fighters to observe a ceasefire from today to October 20, the TTP statement said.

The TTP said that their leaders are engaged in some "secret talks", without elaborating any further.