Pakistan Taliban Calls off Ceasefire with Govt, Orders Nationwide Attack
The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Monday called off a shaky ceasefire with the government and ordered fighters to stage attacks across the country.
According to the TTP statement, they called off the ceasefire agreed with the government in June, reported Dawn.
"As military operations are ongoing against mujahideen in different areas [...] so it is imperative for you to carry out attacks wherever you can in the entire country," said the statement.
TTP, a separate entity from the Taliban in Afghanistan but sharing a similar Islamist ideology, have been responsible for hundreds of attacks and thousands of deaths since emerging in 2007.
The decision, it stated, was taken after "the military organisations launched a series of non-stop attacks in Bannu's Lakki Marwat district," added the statement.
The banned group said it had repeatedly warned the people of Pakistan and "continued to be patient so that the negotiation process is not sabotaged at least by us," reported Dawn.
"But the army and intelligence agencies did not stop and continued the attacks [...] now our retaliatory attacks will also start across the country," the statement claimed.
The government and intelligence agencies are yet to comment on the matter.
Talks between Pakistani officials and the militant outfit first started in October last year but broke down in December.
They agreed to a truce earlier this year after Afghanistan's new Taliban rulers took a prominent role in brokering peace talks. Still, negotiations made little progress and there were frequent breaches.
The process, however, broke down once again due to a deadlock on the revocation of the merger of erstwhile tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Subsequently, attacks by the TTP have been on the rise since September after the group's ceasefire with the army ended. Most of the attacks have happened in and around Dera Ismail Khan, Tank, South Waziristan, and North Waziristan districts in KP, reported Dawn.
In October, the Ministry of Interior had warned that more than year-long peace negotiations between the TTP and the government of Pakistan "had come to a standstill", which had led to unease within the TTP's ranks, reported Dawn.
It had noted that the TTP accuses the Pakistani government of failing to fulfill its main demand -- the reversal of the merger of former Fata with KP -- as well as continuing to detain TTP members while a truce was still being negotiated.
Less than two weeks ago the TTP claimed an ambush that killed six policemen in northwest Pakistan, claiming they were plotting a "raid" on their base in the area.
Since Friday the military has been patrolling the area in an attempt to root out militants, with helicopter gunships shelling their hideouts.
The TTP was founded in 2007 by Pakistani jihadists who fought alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan in the 1990s before opposing Islamabad's support for American intervention there after 9/11.
The Pakistani military came down hard after 2014 when TTP terrorists raided a school for children of army personnel and killed nearly 150 people, most of them pupils.
Its fighters were largely routed into neighbouring Afghanistan, but Islamabad claims the Taliban in Kabul are now giving the TTP a foothold to stage assaults across the border.
(with inputs from ANI)