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Pakistan jets pound Taliban after peace talks derail

Prospects for a ceasefire appear shattered

ucanews.com reporter, Peshawar

ucanews.com reporter, Peshawar

Published: February 20, 2014 05:51 AM GMT

Updated: February 19, 2014 06:57 PM GMT

Pakistan jets pound Taliban after peace talks derail

Major Jahanzeb Adnan, whose killing in an ambush prompted the air strikes

Pakistani fighter jets bombarded suspected Taliban hideouts in a lawless northwest tribal region near the Afghan border on Wednesday night, killing 15 militants, reports said.

The strikes came a day after a four-member government committee expressed its inability to continue negotiations with a Taliban group, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), following the execution of 23 members of the paramilitary Frontier Corps and the subsequent killing of Jahanzeb Adnan, a senior army officer, in an ambush near Peshawar on Monday.

Radio Pakistan quoted military sources as saying that the Pakistan Air Force targeted three suspected Taliban positions in Mir Ali, in the North Waziristan Agency, killing 15 militants, including foreign fighters. Heavy caches of arms and ammunition were also destroyed in the aerial bombing, it said.  

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Just hours before the strikes, TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said the Taliban were sincere about the peace talks if the government stopped killing their members in raids.

“We are ready to announce a ceasefire but the government should assure our interlocutors that our members will not be killed,” he said.

Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid yesterday lambasted the TTP for beheading abducted troops amid talks.  

If the Taliban had any complaints, they should have conveyed them to the government’s dialogue committee through their interlocutors, he said.

Referring to the 1971 war with India, he said that 90,000 Pakistani troops were taken prisoner, but none of them were beheaded.

“Those who are demanding shari'a should tell us under which Islamic law they have committed this heinous act,” he said.

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