Taliban announce 10-day truce in Swat

Pakistan Taliban on Sunday announced a 10-day ceasefire in the restive north western Swat valley...

Written by Press Trust Of India | Islamabad | Published: February 16, 2009 2:33:23 am

Pakistan Taliban on Sunday announced a 10-day ceasefire in the restive north western Swat valley after releasing a Chinese engineer abducted by them six months back in a “goodwill gesture” after talks with the government.

The peace talks between a senior cleric and local authorities are believed to have struck a deal to enforce Shariah laws in some parts of the region. Islamic militants in the valley are still holding John Solecki,an American citizen working for an UN agency,and have threatened to kill him within 72 hours if the Government did not release 141 women allegedly detained in the country.

Maulana Sufi Mohammad,chief of Tehrik-e-Nifaaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM),was engaged in peace talks with the government after being freed last year. Pakistani Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan told reporters in Swat on Sunday that they will observe a ceasefire for ten days.

Sufi Mohammad,who was set free by the government to facilitate peace talks,is believed to have reached an agreement with the government on implementing Shariah laws in some parts of Swat. Maulana Fazlullah who heads the Taliban in Swat is the son-in-law of Sufi Mohammad.

The announcement of the truce came a day after a Chinese engineer Long Xiaowei,abducted by the Taliban six months back,was set free in Swat as a “goodwill gesture”.

President Asif Ali Zardari admitted on Saturday that his government was fighting for the “survival” of the country against the ever-expanding presence of Taliban militants. The lawless tribal areas have witnessed violence since hundreds of Taliban elements sought refuge there after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan toppled the Taliban regime in late 2001.

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