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Pakistani Taliban announces 1-month cease-fire

PAKISTAN-UNREST-NORTHWEST-PROTEST

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) - The Pakistani Taliban announced Saturday that the group will observe a one-month cease-fire as part of efforts to negotiate a peace deal with the government, throwing new life into a foundering peace process.

Spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said in a statement emailed to reporters that the top leadership of the militant group has instructed all of its units to comply with the cease-fire.

"Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has initiated talks with the government with sincerity and for good purpose," Shahid said, referring to the group by its formal name.

The leader of the government's negotiating team, Irfan Sadiqui, praised the cease-fire announcement while speaking on Pakistan's Geo Television, saying the government will review any written document from the Taliban about it.

"Today, we are seeing a big breakthrough," Sadiqui said.

The announcement comes as Pakistan jets and helicopters struck militant hideouts in the northwest in recent weeks after previous efforts at negotiations broke down when a militant faction announced it had killed 23 Pakistani troops.

The Pakistani Taliban has been trying to overthrow the government and establish its own hard-line form of Islam across Pakistan for years. Tens of thousands of people have died in militant attacks.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif long has promoted negotiations over military operations as a way to end the ongoing crisis. His efforts gained speed this year when both sides announced negotiating teams held initial meetings. But after the deaths of the 23 Pakistani troops, the negotiations fell apart.

However, violence earlier Saturday showed how difficult it could be for the Taliban enforce a cease-fire, let alone for the two sides to forge a peace agreement.

Two bombs exploded minutes apart in northwest Pakistan, striking tribal police assigned to guard polio workers and killing 11, police said.

Police official Nawabzada Khan said the first of the two bombs struck an escort vehicle in the Lashora village of Jamrud tribal region in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. It wounded six officers, but caused no deaths, he said.

Minutes later, another roadside bomb struck a convoy of tribal police officers dispatched there to transport victims of the first attack, killing 11 officers and wounding six, Khan said. A government administrator, Nasir Khan, confirmed the death toll and said they had launched a massive hunt to arrest the attackers.

No one claimed responsibility for the two separate bombings, but anti-polio teams and their guards have been frequently targeted in Pakistan by Islamic militants. They say the campaigns are a tool for spying and claim the vaccine makes boys sterile.

Pakistan is one of the few remaining countries where polio persists. In most cases the disease is found in the northwest, where militants make it difficult to reach children for vaccination.

Also Saturday, a bomb targeting security forces in the southwestern province of Baluchistan killed three soldiers and wounded six, the paramilitary Frontier Corps said.

In a statement, it said the soldiers were traveling through the border village of Washuk when a bomb hit their vehicle.

Washuk lies 400 kilometers (240 miles) south of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, where separatists have been fighting a bloody insurgency against the Pakistani government for decades.

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Marcyshamb March 01 2014 at 8:40 PM

Notice the protest signs are always in English? So, what audience are the signs for? English speaking reporters reporting for english speaking populations. Reminds me of the palestanian mobs that rush Israeli soldiers with signs and chanting supposidly aimed at the soldiers, but really just a show for the cameras as the soldiers have no clue what they are chanting, nor what the signs read. Emagine a hoard of people shouting rushing you and you have no clue what they are shouting.

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laferiabil March 01 2014 at 4:12 PM

During the second world war the germans had a way with dealing with ambush's Where the ambush occured they just wiped out the town. Works for me!!!

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1 reply
flameshoter1111 laferiabil March 01 2014 at 4:52 PM

use a modern day nuke, the whole middle east probably wouldn't exist. i would prefer a regular bomb to remove a town

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1 reply
frozenbull flameshoter1111 March 01 2014 at 5:46 PM

No I think modern day nuke would be best .

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fernandezarthr March 01 2014 at 3:56 PM

....they are going to save money, men and materiel for the big push after the US leaves!........I just hope they hang Karzai By the balls in the Middle of Kabul!!........

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spokajo March 01 2014 at 10:30 PM

When it gets down to the last Pakastani and last Taliban what do they do, shoot each other from 10 paces on the count of 3? Bet the Taliban guy shoots on the count of 1, after all he's a terrorist and doesn't follow anyone's rules.

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muddymoriverrat March 01 2014 at 3:15 PM

They are buying time because they "know" they "won" the war because our president just announced he was pulling all American troops out by the end of 2014. This is a repeat of the Vietnam War and 1975. History does, indeed, repeat itself.

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vsethna March 01 2014 at 3:12 PM

This is like cancer cells calling a truce - no more medication (probably because the medication is winning its over its war over the malignant cells), and they want a reprieve to grow back in strength.

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Garland March 01 2014 at 2:48 PM

no rest for them ever, attact attact attact. if we dont do it now, we will have to go back and do it again.. the morons will keep training their children to hate everyone. have to stop the seed.

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1 reply
denise Garland March 01 2014 at 2:52 PM

Huh? Do what? The Taliban is horrific true, but do what? Sigh.

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1 reply
mbrheljr denise March 01 2014 at 3:21 PM

We both know what Garland means, denise.

I assume you're female. And, if so, I'll explain below why that's relevant.

The important thing, separate and apart from spelling and punctuation issues, is that Garland understands the Taliban.

And, as we both know, if the "Tali-whackers" ruled the country you reside in, you wouldn't have the liberty of criticizing Garland or anyone else.

We both know those maniacs treat any females like chattel.

Tomato? Tomahto? What do you want? Good grammar or good taste?

Flag +2 rate up
JohnnYuma March 01 2014 at 2:42 PM

BRING ALL OUR TROOPS HOME AND LET THE DAMNED RADICAL FOOLS KILL EACH OTHER!

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2 replies
fvleo JohnnYuma March 01 2014 at 3:02 PM

RESPONSE TO bobgaul120
Disrespectful insults to our president shows scorn for the American people. When GeorgeaWolBush was sending our children off to die to the wrong country for the wrong reasons after he attained the presidency through undisguised cheating, were you calling HIM names? God bless Obama! The man elected by a majority of the American people.

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2 replies
John Schlobohm fvleo March 01 2014 at 3:44 PM

Bush sent us to war in Iraq, which iis now turning South for that country. He sent us to Afghanistan to catch Osama binLaden and Obama found him in Pakistan. But of course OBama i s now the bad guy because he's trying to clean up Bush's mistakes.

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christopher.m.hayes fvleo March 01 2014 at 6:32 PM

Hmm, Let me think, okay, questions for you: did Saddam use Mustard Gas to bomb the rebels in the north? Did Saddam launch Skud Missiles during the Gulf War? Did the intelligence community say it is highly probable the Weapons made it into Syria? Did Syria not pass Obama's RED LINE and use the same Mustard Gas that all you liberals say doesn't exist? I'm just asking, after all facts are facts.

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Linda JohnnYuma March 01 2014 at 3:56 PM

Johnn Yuma, yours is the best post here and I totally agree with you.

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carp940 March 01 2014 at 2:25 PM

They just need time to Harvest the Poppies!

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psttx March 01 2014 at 2:13 PM

All cease fire means is both sides are out of bullets - - time out Let's both reload!!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
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