TTP confirms ceasefire, FATA merger still stuck

Peshawar: The banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) formally announced an “indefinite ceasefire”; with the government late Thursday night after two days of intense talks with a grand tribal jirga in Kabul.

A statement issued by TTP spokesman Muhammad Khurasani said substantial progress had been made in talks with the grand jirga of the “Pashtun nation, especially tribal elders and ulema”.

The 57-member government-sponsored jirga left for the Afghan capital on Wednesday to continue talks with the TTP, which was mediated by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and overseen by acting Afghan Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani.

A member of the Jirga told dawn There were heated discussions between the two sides, and there was a demand for TTP to reverse FATA’s merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“Overall, the talks have been the same which continued till late in the night. We are hopeful”, said the jirga member from Kabul.

But sources said there was a deadlock over the merger issue and no breakthrough has been achieved so far.

Earlier, it was reported that the two sides had agreed to a request by Afghan Prime Minister Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund to declare an indefinite ceasefire and continue peace talks to end more than two decades of bloody conflict.

Neither side confirmed or supported the ceasefire, which officially ended on 30 May.

Published in Dawn, June 3, 2022