Taleban takes offer of peace talks off table
The Pakistani Taleban has withdrawn its offer of peace talks with the government, saying the authorities were not serious about the matter.
The statement came as two suicide bombers attacked a court complex in the north-western city of Peshawar. One was shot dead, but the other detonated his explosives in a packed courtroom, killing four people and wounding more than 40.
The Taleban has been waging an insurgency against the government for more than five years. Thousands have been killed.
The group first said it was open to negotiations at the end of last year in a letter to a local newspaper and in a video released by Pakistani Taleban chief Hakimullah Mehsud.
Rehman Malik, who was interior minister until the government’s term ended at the weekend, said last month Islamabad was ready to hold talks. He also appeared to drop an earlier demand that the Taleban lay down their weapons and renounce violence prior to negotiations.
But Pakistani Taleban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan said in a video sent to reporters yesterday that it “has temporarily postponed the offer of negotiations” after a “non-serious response”.
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