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Govt, TTP reach ‘tentative’ understanding: report

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The government of Pakistan and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have reached an understanding to end two decades of militancy in the country, said a report citing sources on Friday.

As per the report, the two sides have held face-to-face talks in Afghanistan’s south-western Khost province for the past two-and-a-half weeks.

The understanding between the two sides is conditional to the release of some TTP footsoldiers, said the report in Dawn, adding that these are going to serve as “confidence-building” measures.

However, the report declined to state how many soldiers exactly will be released by the government. However, the report cited a source as saying that no more than two dozen people will be released by the government.

“These are foot soldiers, not senior or mid-level commanders,” the sources said. “We are testing the ground. We are cautious,” they added. “The truce will come into effect once the prisoners are released,” these sources said, requesting not to be named because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

“The tentative month-long truce shall be extendable, depending on how these negotiations go forward,” a source said.

The report said it isn’t clear who is negotiating from Pakistan’s side, adding that the Taliban regime’s Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani has been playing a mediating role between the TTP and Pakistan, bringing the two sides under one roof for talks.

“Talks are being held directly between senior officers and senior TTP leadership. The TTP includes all groups without exception,” the source added. “There are several proposals on the table and both sides are working to hammer out a workable solution.”

In an interview last month with a Turkish news channel, PM Imran Khan had confirmed that his government was in talks with the TTP so that they could law down their arms and live like normal citizens.

Pakistani security officials, on the other hand, have been pressing down on the Taliban government in Afghanistan to shut down TTP bases in the country, as attacks continue in Pakistan.

 

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