Pakistan in Talks With Taliban Militants, Even as Attacks Ramp Up

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan is holding talks with factions of the Pakistani Taliban, a banned militant group chargeable for a few of the nation’s worst terrorist assaults, and would forgive members who lay down their weapons, Prime Minister Imran Khan mentioned on Friday.

Though particulars of the talks had been unclear, negotiations with the group recognized as Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or T.T.P., can be probably the most vital growth since related efforts failed in 2014 and Pakistan turned to an enormous army operation to decrease the group.

“There are completely different teams which type the Pakistani Taliban, or T.T.P.,” Mr. Khan mentioned in an interview with the Turkish state tv station TRT World. “We’re in talks with a few of them on a reconciliation course of. We’d not attain some type of conclusion or settlement in the tip, however we’re speaking.”

In a press release quickly after Mr. Khan’s interview, the T.T.P. known as on its fighters to proceed their assaults. It denied divisions in its ranks and made no acknowledgment of the continuing talks. It additionally claimed accountability for a lethal assault on a Pakistani army convoy on Friday, the most recent in a spate of such assaults.

Mr. Khan mentioned the talks had been held in neighboring Afghanistan, the place the Afghan Taliban are in energy after ousting the nation’s American-backed authorities in August.

The Afghan and Pakistani Taliban are separate entities, though their ideologies overlap, as does their coaching, in non secular seminaries in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Whereas Pakistan’s army has been preventing the Pakistani Taliban, it has lengthy been accused of nurturing the Afghan Taliban.

The Afghan Taliban’s takeover subsequent door has offered Pakistan with an ally, and Pakistani officers have urged that the group’s authorities in Kabul be acknowledged internationally.

Spokesmen for the Taliban authorities in Afghanistan didn’t reply to requests for touch upon Mr. Khan’s revelation of talks in Afghanistan.

An Afghan Taliban commander conscious of the talks, who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of he was not approved to debate particulars, mentioned his group had proposed the negotiations to each side and had provided its assist in serving to finish the two-decade battle in Pakistan.

Pakistani officers remained tight-lipped concerning the particulars, however two senior safety officers who spoke on situation of anonymity to debate delicate talks recommended that the Afghan Taliban had been performing as intermediaries.

Till final 12 months, the Pakistani Taliban appeared significantly weakened, their prime management killed or pushed into Afghanistan after the 2014 talks collapsed. Pakistan’s ensuing army operation, whereas diminishing the group, additionally took a heavy toll on civilians.

And the Pakistani Taliban maintained the flexibility to hold out ambushes, which have intensified in current weeks.

Even if talks get underway in earnest, the positions of the 2 sides seem troublesome to reconcile.

One of many senior Pakistani safety officers mentioned talks would solely occur “inside the confines of Pakistan’s regulation and Structure,” and that there can be “no acceptability” for the militants if they didn’t settle for these phrases and lay down arms.

The militant group doesn’t settle for the Pakistani Structure and has lengthy demanded that Islamic regulation, or Shariah, be put in impact. It reiterated that place final month when it rebuffed a suggestion of amnesty from senior Pakistani officers.

“The T.T.P. has two principal situations for negotiations: Shariah’s implementation and the discharge of T.T.P. prisoners,” mentioned Abdul Sayed, a safety specialist and researcher on militant teams in Afghanistan and Pakistan, who relies in Sweden.

“It appears fairly troublesome that with such hard-line calls for, its negotiations with the state can proceed. With out these situations, T.T.P. says that significant dialogue can not happen,” Mr. Sayed mentioned.

Ihsanullah Tipu Mehsud contributed reporting from Islamabad and Mujib Mashal from New Delhi.

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