Pakistan Enters Peace Talks with Taliban
The talks are aimed at charting a “roadmap” for negotiations that will try to end a decade-long insurgency.
The government set out five conditions, including ending hostilities, saying a “journey for peace” had started.
The Taliban team agreed to travel to the north-west to discuss the conditions with the leadership.
Militants from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have been waging an insurgency inside Pakistan since 2007.
The talks initiative was announced last week by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, following a spate of attacks.
More than 100 people, including soldiers, died in Taliban attacks across the country in January. Thousands have been killed since the TTP came to the fore in 2007.
DOUBTS OVER SUCCESS
The first session lasted about three hours at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House in Islamabad.
The head of the Taliban team, Maulana Sami ul-Haq, read out a joint statement afterwards.
It listed five basic conditions that had been set out by the government side:
- All talks be held within the framework of the constitution
- The scope of the talks should remain confined to areas affected by violence, not the whole country
- All hostilities should cease during talks
- The Taliban should clarify the role of a separate nine-member committee that they have established
- The talks should not be protracted
The Taliban team agreed to travel to Miranshah in the north-west to take the conditions to the leadership and pledged to report back to the government committee as soon as possible.
Both committees agreed that neither side should initiate an act that might damage the talks process.
The statement also said that the Taliban side had sought clarification on the power and mandate of the government committee involved in the talks, and whether it could accept and act on demands made by the Taliban.
Both sides condemned recent violence.
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