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Pakistan's peace team refuses to meet Taliban intermediaries

Monday, 17 February 2014 - 3:26pm IST | Agency: IANS

In an apparent deadlock in the peace dialogue in Pakistan, the government's negotiation team Monday refused to meet the Taliban intermediaries a day after the Taliban killed 23 security men taken hostage.

The Taliban faction in Mohmand tribal region said that 23 security personnel, who had been captured in 2010, were killed Sunday as revenge to what it called "extra-judicial killing of its detained activists".

The incident has turned out to be a serious setback for the ongoing fragile peace process.

"The government's dialogue committee, which was scheduled to hold talks with the Taliban mediators Monday, will not meet them," Xinhua quoted coordinator of the government committee, Irfan Siddiqui, said.

"The meeting would be useless following the martyrdom of the 23 security men," Siddiqui said in a statement.

He said the government's negotiation team has unanimously described the incident as shocking and condemnable.

He said the recent series of terror attacks have had a negative impact on the ongoing serious peace process.

"The nation expects urgent and positive results of the dialogue process to stop more bloodshed in Pakistan," Siddiqui said, adding that it was sad the talks were not heading in the right direction.

Siddiqui said that an emergency meeting of the government's committee has been convened Tuesday to review the latest situation following the killing of 23 security men.

Another member of the government's team, Rahimullah Yousafzai, termed the emerging situation as very serious after the Taliban's killing of the security personnel.

Yousafzai told the media that the official team would seek a clarification from the Taliban committee about the incident.

Days before Sunday's killings of the security men, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had termed the previous attacks as a serious setback for the dialogue process.

The government is expected to come under pressure to act against the Taliban as there has been no let-up in the terror attacks.


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