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Taliban announces ten-day truce in Pakistan's Swat

Source: PTI
February 15, 2009 20:19 IST
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Taliban forces in Pakistan have announced a ten-day ceasefire in the restive north western Swat valley, as peace talks between a senior cleric and local authorities are believed to have struck a deal to enforce Shariah laws in some parts of the region.

Maulana Sufi Mohammad, chief of Tehrik-e-Nifaaz-e- Shariat-e-Mohammadi, was engaged in peace talks with the government after being freed last year. Pakistani Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan told reporters in Swat today that they will observe a ceasefire for ten days.

Sufi Mohammad, who was set free by the government to facilitate peace talks, is believed to have reached an agreement with the government on implementing Shariah laws in some parts of Swat.

Maulana Fazlullah, who heads the Taliban in Swat, is the son-in-law of Sufi Mohammad. The announcement of the truce came a day after a Chinese engineer, abducted by the Taliban six months back, was set free in Swat as a 'goodwill gesture'.

President Asif Ali Zardari admitted on Saturday that his government was fighting for the survival of the country against the ever-expanding presence of Taliban militants.

The lawless tribal areas have witnessed violence since hundreds of Taliban elements sought refuge there after the United States-led invasion of Afghanistan toppled the Taliban regime in late 2001.

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