Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has revealed that his government is in talks with banned terror group Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for “reconciliation” with the help of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The TTP, commonly known as Pakistani Taliban, is a banned terrorist organisation based along the Afghan-Pakistan border.
There were reports that the Afghan Taliban had set free some dreaded TTP terrorists, including Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, after taking over Afghanistan in August.
In an interview to Turkish government-owned TRT World news channel, Imran Khan said there are different terror groups which form the TTP and some of them want to talk to the Pakistan government for peace, Pakistan’s Dawn News reported on Friday.
“So, we are in talks with them. It’s a reconciliation process,” the Imran Khan said.
When asked if the government was asking the terrorists to lay down arms, Imran Khan said, “Yes, we forgive them and they become normal citizens.”
To a question on why the TTP was conducting attacks on Pakistan’s security forces when they were in talks with the government, he said it was just a “spate of attacks”.
“We might not reach some sort of conclusion or settlement in the end but we are talking,” Imran Khan added.
Responding to another query on whether the Afghan Taliban were acting as mediators between the TTP and Pakistan, the Imran Khan said: “Since the talks were taking place in Afghanistan, so in that sense, yes.”
The Taliban swept across Afghanistan in August, seizing control of almost all key towns and cities in the backdrop of withdrawal of the US forces that began on May 1.
On August 15, the capital city of Kabul fell to the terrorists. The Taliban claimed victory over opposition forces in the last holdout province of Panjshir on September 6, completing their takeover of Afghanistan three weeks after capturing Kabul.
The Taliban have put in place a hardline interim 33-member so-called “Cabinet” that has no women and includes several UN-designated terrorists. The Taliban last ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.
Earlier in September, Pak President Arif Alvi had suggested that the Pakistani government could consider giving an amnesty to those terrorists of the TTP who had not remained involved in “criminal activities” and who laid down their weapons and agreed to adhere to the Pakistani Constitution.