Pakistani Taliban, Government Hold Initial Peace Talks

Posted November 21st, 2011 at 10:05 am (UTC-5)
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Pakistan's government is reported holding preliminary peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban to explore ways to jump-start peace negotiations.

A senior militant commander told news agencies Monday that the discussions were focused on the South Waziristan tribal region along the border with Afghanistan. The commander said the Taliban is making several demands, including the release of prisoners.

Pakistani military and government officials were not available for immediate comment. The talks are said to include tribal elders and former civilian and military officials.

The government has cut peace deals with the Pakistani Taliban in the past, but they have largely fallen apart. Critics have said the agreements allow the militants to regroup and rebuild their strength to resume fighting the government and foreign troops in neighboring Afghanistan.

It is also not clear if the Pakistani Taliban are united enough to actually strike a lasting deal.

Pakistan has come under pressure to eradicate militancy since U.S. special forces in May killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani town, where he had apparently been living for years.