ISLAMABAD - The killings of Frontier Corps men at the hands of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have raised a question on the veracity of reports regarding peace talks between the militants and security forces to suggest an undeclared ceasefire.
On the other hand, intelligence sources term the reports of talks between Mullah Omar's men and the US authorities in Qatar without the inclusion of Pakistan, as counter narrative strategy built up pressure on Pakistan in the backdrop of the continued deadlock between Pakistan and the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
Talking to The Nation from an unknown venue, TTP Spokesman Ehsaanullah Ehsaan claimed responsibility of killing the 15 FC personnel who were abducted from Tank over a fortnight ago. "You record it, they were traitors and every traitor deserves death penalty. Whosever dares fight the Islamic forces be deemed a traitor and shall be awarded an exemplary punishment."
On talks with Pakistan's security establishment, Ehsaan said, "We have no reason to get engaged in talks with them. We're winning this war and they're losing it. Coming to the table for discussions would only be possible when they stop military operations against us and their American bosses vacate Afghanistan."
Speaking with this scribe on Monday, Afghan Taliban Spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid had showed willingness on behalf of Afghan Taliban to hold talks with the US linking this measure to the allied forces pulling out of Afghanistan. "There is no question of any bargain with them (US and allies). We would hold talks simply to get our conditions met." Mujahid denied that Mullah Omar had demanded release of Afghan militants from a US prison in Afghanistan. "Right now we have one-point agenda, evacuation of Afghanistan from the US and its allies."
Sources in FC told The Nation that the militants of Lashkar-e-Islami (LI), an offshoot of TTP, were involved in the killings of abducted FC men. Led by notorious militant Mangal Bagh Afridi, LI has heavy presence in Khyber Agency. The LI militants had vowed revenge after security forces under the operational command of FC had launched a large-scale operation in Bara, Khyber Agency headquarters, to take on Bagh and his men in October last year. It is also learnt that LI and a Dera Ismail Khan based faction of Taliban led by Naimatullah Mehsud were strongly opposing ceasefire with security forces along with other Taliban factions. Naimutallah is reported to be a close relative of slain militant commander Qari Zainuddin Mehsud.