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Pakistani Taliban Says Cease-Fire With Islamabad Extended Indefinitely


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The Pakistani Taliban has declared an indefinite cease-fire with Islamabad after the latest round of peace talks brokered by Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders.

The Pakistani government has been in talks with the hard-line Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as part of Islamabad's ongoing efforts to stem attacks carried out by the outlawed group that have killed dozens of Pakistani soldiers this year.

Muhammad Khurasani, a spokesman for the TTP, said the decision on the cease-fire was made after “substantial progress” in talks held in Kabul with a delegation of 50 Pakistani tribal elders.

A new delegation of elders arrived in Kabul from Pakistan on May 31 for a fresh round of negotiations.

As a result of progress in the talks "the leadership of the TTP has extended the cease-fire until further notice," Khurasani said in a statement issued in Kabul. Further meetings will be held in few days, he added.

There was no immediate confirmation from the Pakistani government, nor was there a statement from the Afghan Taliban, which seized power in their country in August as the U.S. and NATO troops were in the final stages of a withdrawal.

A Pakistani official told RFE/RL last month that a senior Pakistani Army officer, Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed, was leading the government’s delegation negotiating with the TTP.

The Afghan Taliban's interior minister, Sirajuddin Haqqani, and intelligence chief, Abdul Haq Qasiq, were mediating the talks, the official said.

A truce previously agreed until May 30 for the Islamic festival of Eid had held until now.

The TTP has been fighting for the stricter enforcement of Islamic laws in Pakistan, the release of their members from government custody, and a reduction in the Pakistani military presence in the country’s former tribal regions.

With reporting by AFP and AP
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