Pakistani Taliban Offers to Lay Down Arms for Peace

by Jason Ditz, October 15, 2008

Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Maulvi Omar has offered negotiations with the Pakistani government “without any conditions.” The Pakistani government has previously offered such negotiations, but demanded that the TTP first lay down their arms and agree to expel all foreigners from the tribal areas.

Maulvi Omar seemed open to the possibility, saying that the TTP would be willing to lay down arms so long as the Pakistani government ceases its offensives against them. He also said his faction would be willing to cooperate with the government in driving out foreigners and preventing infiltration into Afghanistan. He also was open to promising the TTP would not cross into Afghanistan to fight there, saying the Afghan Taliban was powerful enough on its own.

The TTP has been responsible for some major suicide attacks in Pakistan, including an attack on Pakistan’s largest munitions plant in late August which killed at least 70 people. The attack was related to the military’s offensive in Bajaur, which the military says has killed over 1,000 militants.

The TTP had previously announced a unilateral ceasefire in Bajaur in late August. According to Maulvi Omar they had received assurances from tribesmen that if they stopped attacks the military would as well. And indeed, the Pakistani government announced a ceasefire of its own only a week later, though they mysteriously never stopped their offensive.

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