TribLIVE

| USWorld

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Church bombing spurs Pakistan to give up on Taliban peace talks

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By McClatchy Newspapers
Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, 8:06 p.m.
 

ISLAMABAD — Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called off plans for unconditional peace talks with terrorists after a series of deadly attacks that culminated in Sunday's suicide bombing of a church, which killed 83 people.

“We had proposed peace talks with the Taliban in good faith, but because of this attack, the government is unable to move forward with what it planned and envisaged,” a visibly upset Sharif said late on Sunday on a flight to New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly.

Peace talks with militants from Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, the formal name for the Pakistani Taliban, were a key part of Sharif's platform in the campaign leading up to May's parliamentary elections, which his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party won. The Taliban seemed to favor his proposal, excluding from their pre-election terror campaign candidates from Sharif's party and another party that had favored peace talks, the Movement for Justice Party.

But since Sharif won approval for the talks in September from leaders of the country's political parties, the Taliban have stepped up attacks, apparently considering the idea of talks as a sign of weakness within Sharif's government and of division with Pakistan's powerful military, which has opposed negotiations.

Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud ordered the intensification of the militants' campaign of attacks and on Sept. 14 issued two conditions for talks: the release of 50 jailed commanders and the withdrawal from the northwest tribal areas of 150,000 Pakistani troops deployed there.

Mehsud incensed the military by assassinating a two-star army general the next day in the northern Dir district, where Pakistani troops have been fighting Pakistani Taliban factions that fled there in 2009.

The assassination of Maj. Gen. Sanaullah Niazi strained relations between the military and Sharif, whose government had failed even to find intermediaries capable of setting up a dialogue with the militants.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. U.S., Turkey plan for ‘safe zone’ free of ISIS in northern Syria
  2. Saudis’ deadly airstrikes resume in Yemen
  3. Gunbattle kills 21 at Afghan wedding party
  4. Chinese woman crushed to death in escalator
  5. Obama knocks Huckabee, Trump for slide in Republican rhetoric
  6. Boehner vows to do ‘everything possible’ to scuttle Iran nuclear deal
  7. Defense secretary touts success of Kurdish fighters in war on ISIS
  8. Turkey couples ISIS bombing runs with striking Kurdish targets
  9. Ships cross Egypt’s New Suez Canal in first test-run
  10. Syria’s embattled President Assad admits manpower shortage
  11. Turkey to stick with air offensive in ISIS battle