Not holding negotiations with Taliban: Pak Army

Western news agencies claimed Taliban commanders were holding exploratory peace talks with Pakistan Army.

Islamabad: The Pakistan Army on Tuesday said it was not engaged in any secret negotiations with the Taliban or other militants groups and such parleys would have to be handled by the civilian government.

The statement by a spokesman for the Inter-Services Public Relations came a day after Western news agencies quoted unnamed Taliban commanders as saying that they were holding exploratory peace talks with authorities.

The spokesman "strongly and categorically" refuted the media reports and said the "Army is not undertaking any kind of negotiations with TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan) or its affiliated militant groups".

"Such reports are concocted, baseless and unfounded," he said.

"Any contemplated negotiation/reconciliation process with militant groups has to be done by the government," the spokesman said in a brief statement.

One unnamed senior Taliban commander was quoted as saying that peace talks were being held with the Pakistani government and Army.

The commander, who claimed to be part of a 10-member negotiating committee, said two rounds of talks had been held. Taliban conditions for the talks included troops withdrawing to barracks, the military compensating losses and an exchange of prisoners, the commander claimed.

Another unnamed commander had said a proposed peace deal would initially be limited to South Waziristan tribal region and that it could subsequently be extended to other areas.


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