First, talking to the Taliban was becoming the latest rage — not least because the Taliban showed “openness” to the idea. Then the Taliban asserted that “there’s nothing to talk about.” Now, once again, an offer to “renew” talks is being made. These offers for talks must only be indicative of the Taliban’s fluctuating strength: break off talks when on a roll; ask for talks when experiencing setbacks.
“Taliban renew offer for talks,” from The Dawn, November 12:
KHAR, Nov 11: The outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has renewed its offer to hold talks with the government and said that use of tribal lashkars is not a solution to the problem in the tribal region.
The group’s spokesman Maulvi Omar told newsmen that the TTP wanted dialogue with the government for restoring peace in the tribal areas and other parts of the country.
He claimed that the Taliban were sincere in their offer because violence was in no-one’s interest.
Replying to a question, he said the Taliban would never lay down weapons before the opening of dialogue but they would do so if talks proved to be fruitful.
He expressed concern over the military operation in Bajaur and other areas and said that the Taliban had never challenged the government’s writ in Bajaur.
Claiming that the Taliban had reduced their activities over the past three months and taken only defensive measures, he threatened to launch major attacks on government installations if the military action was not stopped.
He said that the Taliban shura would meet at the end of the current month to prepare plan for a decisive campaign against the government.
He warned the government against pitting tribal people against the Taliban by setting up lashkars and said the government had resorted to the move after having failed to achieve its objective through military operations.
He also warned tribal elders against “playing in the hands of the government,” and said the Taliban would wage a war against them if they formed lashkars.