Pakistan and Taliban extend ceasefire to negotiate peace

The main Pakistani Taliban group, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), announced on Wednesday the extension of a ceasefire with the Pakistani government to continue peace talks under Afghan mediation.

The ceasefire will remain in force until May 30, since “under the mediation of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (as the Taliban government calls itself), talks are being held between the high-level committees of the TTP and the Government of Pakistan,” the TTP said in a statement.

The Afghan Taliban also confirmed that they are mediating negotiations between the TTP and the Pakistani government, and that an extension of the ceasefire has been agreed.

“Talks were held in Kabul between the government of Pakistan and the TTP with the mediation of the Islamic Emirate,” Taliban government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter.

The spokesman stressed that “significant progress” had been made in the talks, and asked “both parties for tolerance and flexibility.”

Despite the fact that the Government of Pakistan has not confirmed that peace is being negotiated with the Pakistani Taliban group, a diplomatic source from the Pakistani embassy in Kabul revealed to Efe on condition of anonymity that Faiz Hameed, former head of the main agency of Pakistani intelligence, the ISI, is in the Afghan capital for talks with the TTP.

The previous government of Prime Minister Imran Khan agreed a one-month ceasefire with the TTP last November, in an attempt to bring positions closer together.

However, the measure did not prosper and after the date passed, the TTP unilaterally decided not to extend the cessation of hostilities, accusing the government of not respecting the understanding reached between the two. But this month during Ramadan another ceasefire was decided, which was extended until May 16.

The TTP is an umbrella of several tribal armed groups created in 2007 that seek to impose an Islamic State in Pakistan and is an ally of the Afghan Taliban, to whom they are loyal.

Since its formation, the group has carried out a brutal campaign of terrorist attacks across the country, killing thousands of people, including an assassination attempt on Malala Yousafzai in 2012. In 2014, at the age of 17, the young Pakistani would receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her fight for girls’ education.

Terrorist violence has decreased markedly in Pakistan since the army launched an operation in the northwestern tribal areas in June 2014, which it later expanded to the rest of the country, weakening the TTP.

But in recent months the attacks have increased again, coinciding with the rise to power in Afghanistan of the Afghan Taliban, who took control of Kabul in mid-August.

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Edition: Estefania Cardeña

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Pakistan and Taliban extend ceasefire to negotiate peace