Authorities open talks with influential pro-Taliban cleric

Pakistani authorities held talks on Monday with Sufi Mohammad, a cleric who has been a go-between with the Taliban in the Swat valley. This follows a recent offensive from security forces to clear the Taliban from the neighbouring Buner valley.


REUTERS - Authorities in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province held talks on Friday with a radical cleric who has acted as a go-between with the Taliban in the troubled Swat valley.

Talks with cleric Sufi Mohammad came days after Pakistani security forces launched a major offensive to clear the Taliban out of the neighbouring Buner valley.

”Everything is being done to end militancy. Everything is being done for peace,” Mian Iftikhar Hussain, information minister of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), told reporters after talks with Mohammad in Timergara, in Lower Dir, another district adjoining Swat.

The provincial government had struck a deal with Mohammad in February to impose Islamic sharia law in Malakand division, including Swat, if the Taliban shunned militancy.

But militants this month moved into Buner, just 100 km (60 miles) from Islamabad, sending shivers across Pakistan and heightening fears in the United States about the stability of the nuclear-armed Muslim state.


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