Pak Resumes Peace Talks as Taliban Abducts 10 Paramilitaries

To seek an end to militancy and violence, authorities in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province has again held discussions with a radical cleric who acted as a go-between with the Taliban in the troubled Swat valley. In the meanwhile, Taliban militants abducted 10 paramilitaries in an army offensive in their head quarters.

Authorities started talks with days after security forces launched a major offensive to clear the Taliban out of the neighbouring Buner valley.

“Everything is being done to end militancy. Everything is being done for peace,” Mian Iftikhar Hussain, information minister of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), said after talks with Mohammad in Timergara, in Lower Dir, another district adjoining Swat.

Earlier in February, the provincial government had struck a deal with Mohammad to impose Islamic sharia law in Malakand division, including Swat, provided the Taliban put an end to militancy.

However, militants infiltrated into Buner this month, just 100 km (60 miles) from Islamabad, worrying Pakistan and the United States.

In an incidence, Taliban militants have kidnapped 10 Pakistani paramilitaries in an attack on their headquarters as Islamic militants fought back against an army offensive in the troubled northwest.

More than 50 militants stormed the paramilitary headquarters in Upper Dir district of Malakand region, where the Pakistan military is battling to expel the Taliban from Buner, a senior government official said.

Both Upper Dir and Buner are part of Malakand, though they do not share a border.

“We are using all means to safely recover (the paramilitaries). We have engaged tribal elders for this purpose,” Atif-ur-Rehman, chief administrator of Upper Dir, said.

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