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Pak Taliban announce indefinite truce in Swat

Taliban militants on Tuesday indefinitely extended a ceasefire in Pakistan’s Swat Valley,a day after militants in the adjoining Bajaur tribal region announced....

Written by Press Trust Of India | Islamabad |
February 25, 2009 1:38:46 am

Taliban militants on Tuesday indefinitely extended a ceasefire in Pakistan’s Swat Valley,a day after militants in the adjoining Bajaur tribal region announced a similar truce after secretly signing a peace deal with authorities.

The Taliban ceasefire was due to expire on Wednesday but Muslim Khan,the spokesman for the group in Swat,told reporters that it had decided on Tuesday to extend the ceasefire for an indefinite period. “Today the Shura met under Maulana Fazlullah and decided to hold a ceasefire for an indefinite period,” Khan said and vowed to release prisoners in the Swat Valley.

“We are releasing all prisoners unconditionally. Today,we released four paramilitary soldiers and we will release all security personnel in our custody,” he said.

The Shura also decided not to attack security forces and government property. The Taliban-led by Fazlullah had last week called a 10-day unilateral truce in Swat to facilitate peace talks with the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah Mohammadi,a group of religious hardliners. The TNSM is led by Maulana Sufi Mohammad,who is Fazlullah’s father-in-law. Authorities in Swat had announced a separate truce last week.

The ceasefire in Swat came a day after militants in the Bajaur announced a unilateral truce after secretly inking a peace accord with the government.

Maulvi Faqir Mohammad,the Taliban commander in Bajaur,announced the unilateral ceasefire during a broadcast on his illegal FM station last night.

The government announced an amnesty for the Taliban in Bajaur in the peace accord that was inked on Monday,The News daily reported on Tuesday.

Faqir Mohammad directed his fighters to stop fighting security forces and to help restore peace in the region as an understanding had been reached with the government.

Chief military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said the army had heard about the ceasefire announced in Bajaur but the “government had not yet reciprocated”. The chief of the Frontier Corps,which is spearheading the operations in Bajaur,will make a decision after discussions with the civil administration.

Media reports said pro-government militant commanders,tribal elders and businessmen played a key role in brokering the accord in Bajaur.

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