Cleric’s Faction Suspends Talks with Pakistan Over Lower Dir Attacks

TNSM, TTP Both Condemn Offensive

Yesterday’s attack by Pakistani security forces on the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) district of Lower Dir, the home district of Tehreek-e Nafaz-e Shariat-e Mohammadi (TNSM) leader Sufi Muhammad, has imperiled the peace deal between the two sides, as the TNSM has announced it will suspend all talks with the government.

We will not hold any talks until the operation ends,” TNSM spokesman Amir Izzat Khan declared, saying that the group will, however, continue to adhere to the Swat Valley peace deal in the meantime. The situation was further complicated by reports from both TNSM and government officials that neither has spoken to Muhammad since Saturday, and his whereabouts are unknown.

The Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the apparent target of the Lower Dir raids, has also condemned the raid as unjustified and demanded an immediate halt. Muslim Khan, the spokesman for the local TTP bloc, declared “agreements with the Pakistan government are worthless because Pakistani rulers are acting to please Americans.”

The United States has been an outspoken critic of the Swat Valley peace deal, and has been pressuring the Pakistani government to launch military operations in the area.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.