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7:39 am
Sat March 1, 2014

Pakistani Taliban Promise Cease-Fire To Resume Peace Talks

The Pakistani Taliban said Saturday it will observe a month-long cease-fire to revive failed peace talks with Islamabad.

"The senior leadership of the Taliban advises all subgroups to respect the Taliban's call for a ceasefire and abide by it and completely refrain from all jihadi activities in this time period," the militant group said in a statement.

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

The BBC says that Shahid "requested the Pakistani government to fulfil the group's demands, which include an end to U.S. drone strikes and the introduction of sharia law."

The Associated Press reports:

"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."

Irfan Siddiqui, an adviser to the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said that he had so far not received any information regarding a ceasefire, but added that it would be a "positive development," according to the BBC.

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