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Monday, April 15, 2024

Has TTP ceasefire ended?

Up to 100 Taliban fighters have been released during the last 10 days, they are low-level fighters and will remain under observation. But what about ceasefire?

Authorities have released up to 100 Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) prisoners as part of a truce with the militant group, sources on both sides said on Thursday.

The two sides have been engaged in talks, with a one-month truce that was due to end on December 9 extended, the sources said.

“Up to 100 Taliban fighters have been released during the last 10 to 15 days, they are low-level fighters and will remain under observation,” a government official based in Peshawar said.

A security official in the city also confirmed the releases, from several prisons in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and added that they would not be moved to Afghanistan.

Read more: Islamabad bids to quell rise in attacks by TTP

A senior Taliban commander based in eastern Afghanistan told AFP that the release was important as a confidence-building measure.

“The TTP leadership has shown its willingness to increase the ceasefire for an indefinite period,” the Taliban commander told AFP by phone and added that “talks with the Pakistani officials would continue”.

The two government officials who spoke to AFP also confirmed the extension of the truce.

Prime Minister Imran Khan announced in October that the government was in talks with the TTP for the first time since 2014, facilitated by Afghanistan’s new leaders who seized power in August.

The talks have angered many within Pakistan, who remember the brutal attacks — including on schools, hotels, churches and markets — which killed around 70,000 people, according to successive governments.

Thousands of TTP fighters are believed to be in Afghanistan, mostly in the rugged eastern highlands neighbouring Pakistan, where they sought shelter after the 2014 crackdown.

Read more: Pakistan to release TTP & TLP prisoners

TTP carried out hundreds of suicide and bomb attacks and kidnappings across the country for years before being crushed by a massive military operation.

AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk