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Pakistani Government, Taliban Due To Hold First Direct Talks

The first face-to-face talks between the Pakistani government and Taliban leaders are due to take place on March 26 in a secret location in the country's northwest.

The negotiations would mark the first direct contact since the peace process began last year.

Ibrahim Khan, a cleric representing the Pakistani Taliban, says a delegation from Islamabad -- headed by government official Habibullah Khan Khattak -- is taking a helicopter to the location, described as a "peace zone."

The Taliban announced a one-month cease-fire in February.

The government reciprocated by halting air strikes against the militants.

The talks are an effort to find a way to end violence that has claimed thousands of lives in recent years.
Based on reporting by AP and dpa