Islamabad: Pakistani officials have reached a tentative understanding with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to seek a broader peace agreement to end nearly two decades of militancy in the country, reports Dawn.
Quoting sources, the report said that the "direct, face-to-face" talks between the two sides being held in Afghanistan's south-western Khost province for nearly two weeks had resulted in a tentative understanding to declare a countrywide truce. The truce is on the condition that the Pakistan Government will release some TTP foot soldiers as part of confidence-building measures, the report said.
The interior minister of Afghanistan's Taliban regime, Sirajuddin Haqqani, has been playing a mediating role between Pakistan and the TTP, bringing the two sides under one roof to engage in face-to-face talks, said another source.
The report said that it is not clear how many militants in Pakistan's custody would be allowed to go free, but according to the report, the number won't not be more than two dozen people. "These are foot soldiers, not senior or mid-level commanders," the report said quoting sources.
According to the report, the truce will come into effect once the prisoners are released. "The tentative month-long truce shall be extendable, depending on how these negotiations go forward," the report added.
It is not clear who from the Pakistan side is negotiating with the TTP, the report further said quoting sources.
"Talks are being held directly between senior officers and senior TTP leadership. The TTP includes all groups without exception," the report added. "There are several proposals on the table and both sides are working to hammer out a workable solution." the report further said.