Bajaur Taliban Accept Ceasefire Offer
It is very important for the saftey pakistan to mention here that the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Bajaur chapter, on Saturday offered to renounce militancy and remain peaceful if the ongoing military operation against them was stopped. According to tribesmen, the operation has caused more losses to them than the militants.The government had launched a full-fledged military operation, involving jet fighters, gunship helicopters and artillery guns, against the militants in Bajaur on August 6, 2008, causing displacement of around half-a-million people. The operation, however, inflicted heavy losses on the militants.
The Baitullah Mehsud-led TTP, which was formed on December 14, 2007, including all the militant organisations operating in the tribal areas and settled districts of the NWFP, had announced that none of its component groups would sign a peace accord with the government separately.
However, the TTP leadership allowed its Swat chapter, led by Maulana Fazlullah, to negotiate a peace deal with the Awami National Party-led NWFP government last year.In Bajaur, the military operation was launched rather late. Yet it was fierce and deadly and has been continuing for the past several months.Several villages have been flattened in the heavy bombing by warplanes and gunship choppers. The government claimed to have killed more than 1,500 Taliban militants, destroying their command and control system.
Though the local tribesmen disagree with the government on the number of militants� casualties yet they admit the military operation has weakened the capability of the militants to continue activities in the region.
�The seven-month operation has forced the militants either to leave the region or go underground, which I personally think is a great success of the government against the militants,� said a senior tribal journalist in Bajaur, who pleaded anonymity.He said the militants, who before the operation were in control of most parts of Bajaur, had been restricted to their hideouts in Charmang and Mamond areas. �Any kind of peace deal with them at this stage will make them stronger again,� he observed.
The TTP spokesman Maulvi Omar admitted that peace talks with the government were under way through a Jirga comprising tribal elders and senior civil and military officials.
However, he said they did not trust the government�s peace talks as earlier when their negotiations had entered a crucial phase, the government sent troops to Inayat Kellay, one of their strongholds, and used jet fighters, gunship helicopters and tanks to pound their positions.
After that deadlock, Omar said, talks between them and the government resumed but the government continued pounding their positions heavily in Mamond and Inayat Kellay.
�Earlier, they launched the war against us to appease President Bush and now for his successor Barack Obama,� the spokesman noted.The Taliban in Bajaur have presented six demands for restoration of peace in the region. Omar said they had informed the Jirga, negotiating the peace deal between them and the government, about their conditions.He said the government would need to announce a ceasefire and withdraw the regular Army from Bajaur. The paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) would be allowed to remain in Bajaur but in barracks.Similarly, he said all roadside checkpoints manned by the Army, the FC and Khassadar Force should be removed.Another condition put forward by the militants for peace accord was compensation to the militants and tribesmen for their losses they had suffered in the military operation. Omar said they wanted exchange of prisoners as the government was holding several of their people while they too, had taken hostage the government people, including soldiers.
He also said the government would have to help over five hundred thousand displaced tribesmen now living in refugee camps in Dir, Mardan, Peshawar and Nowshera to return.However, Omar alleged that there were differences between the elected government and military officials over the peace initiative. He feared the peace process could derail once again.
Tags: Bajaur , Taliban , Truce , Pact , Government
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