Secret peace talks on between Swat Taliban and Pak Army

September 11th, 2009 - 2:35 pm ICT by ANI  

Taliban Peshawar, Sep.11 (ANI): The Taliban, for the first time, has admitted that it is negotiating secret peace talks with the Pakistan Army, and has claimed that five of its leaders have been held captive by the security forces for the last eight days.

The Swat Taliban said that five of its commanders, including spokesperson Muslim Khan and senior commander Mahmud Khan, who had gone to hold talks with the Army, were traceless and claimed that they have been arrested.

“I last spoke to Taliban commander Mahmud Khan three days ago. The way he talked made me suspicious. I figured out that he wasn’t allowed to talk freely. It seemed he was in the custody of the military,” said Salman, who claimed to be officiating as the spokesman for the Swat chapter of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Muslim Khan’s absence.

Salman told media persons over the telephone that the talks were initiated by one Kamal Khan, a resident of Deolai village in Swat, who is now settled in the US.

“This time we wanted to talk directly with the Army as the previous two peace deals with the ANP-led NWFP government didn’t work,” he said.

However, there was no confirmation from the Army about any such peace talks taking place.

Calls to Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas went unanswered after the TTP made these claims, The News reported.

Salman also claimed that attempts for reconciliation were started by the military since June itself, two months after it announced an all out war against the Taliban and other extremist groups in Swat and Malakand Divisions.

“Since June, Major Abdullah had been in contact with us and was offering peace talks. Finally we agreed to his offer when Kamal Khan became involved as an intermediary between the two sides,” he said. (ANI)

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