New Delhi: Pakistani officials have reached a tentative understanding with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to seek a broader peace agreement to end nearly two decades of militancy in the country, Dawn reported.
Sources said the “direct, face-to-face” talks between the two sides being held in Afghanistan’s south-western Khost province for nearly two weeks had resulted in a tentative understanding to declare a countrywide truce, conditional to the release of some TTP foot soldiers as part of confidence-building measures, the report said.
The interior minister of Afghanistan’s Taliban regime, Sirajuddin Haqqani, has been playing a mediating role between Pakistan and the TTP, bringing the two sides under one roof to engage in face-to-face talks, said another source.
It was not immediately clear how many militants in Pakistan’s custody would be allowed to go free, but sources said the number was not more than two dozen people. “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.
It is not clear who from the Pakistan side is negotiating with the TTP, the report said.
“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.”