Pakistan: No Peace Talks with Taliban Unless Insurgents Surrender Weapons

Posted October 18th, 2011 at 6:50 am (UTC-5)
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Pakistani officials say Taliban insurgents must first lay down their weapons if they are to engage in peace talks with the government.

Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Tuesday that his government has received messages from unidentified members of the Islamist insurgent group suggesting they are willing to hold peace negotiations.

But Malik said the Pakistani government would not engage in talks if the insurgents “held a Kalashnikov rifle in one hand.”

The Pakistani Taliban, which is an offshoot of the Afghan Taliban movement, declared war on the Pakistani government in 2007, partly because of its alliance with the U.S.

The Pakistani military has undertaken several recent operations against Islamist militant groups throughout the country's tribal belt, but has recently expressed optimism that peace talks with the Taliban could succeed.