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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Taliban must surrender for talks, says Pakistani minister

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Dec 13, IRNA -- Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said that the government would not hold talks with Taliban until they surrender.

The statement came amid conflicting reports about talks with Taliban as the group deputy chief Maulvi Faqir Ahmed claimed that they are in talks with Islamabad and that the process is making progress.

But three Taliban commanders quickly denied claim by Faqir saying they would not hold talks with Pakistan unless Islamic system is implemented.

'We will hold talks with Taliban if they surrender and accept government’s writ,' the interior minister told reporters outside the Parliament.

The minister said he has asked the Taliban to come down from mountains and surrender the arms to the law enforcement agencies.

The conflict statements by Taliban leaders show differences in the ranks of Pakistani Taliban.

There had been reports in recent weeks about the talks between Pakistani Taliban and the government but it was the first time on Saturday when deputy chief of the TTP confirmed to section of the media that the movement was in peace talks with Islamabad.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in October offered talks with the Taliban after nearly 60 political and religious leaders proposed talks with the militants in the wake of threats of unilateral action against armed in Pakistan by then US Chief of Joints Staff Mike Mullen. The country’s powerful army had also agreed with the Taliban talks proposal but Pakistan has never officially offered any word about the talks.

Conflicting statements from Taliban commanders have now confirmed that there are differences within the Taliban ranks over the issue of dialogue with the government. This can further weak the movement and their weakness can force them to enter into dialogue with the government.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30709610

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