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Pakistani Taliban Claim Attacks on Security Forces

by Nazar Ul Islam
TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid. Naseer Azam—AFP

TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid (left). Naseer Azam—AFP

Spokesman for militant group alleges government is powerless to negotiate peace, and claims shelling in North Waziristan is targeting civilians.

The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attacks on security forces in Bajaur Agency and Fateh Jang, adding that this is retaliation for military strikes.

The suicide bombing targeting security forces in Fateh Jang and indiscriminate firing on a border post in Bajaur killed at least 12 people, including two senior officers.

“These attacks were carried out to avenge the killing of our colleagues in different areas of the country,” said Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Shahidullah Shahid. The Government of Pakistan on Thursday blamed the attacks in Bajaur on terrorists from across the Pak-Afghan border with the Foreign Office claiming that the matter had been taken up with the Afghan government in Kabul and its embassy in Islamabad.

According to the Taliban, they have killed over 20 soldiers in Bajaur. “We killed over 20 soldiers and the bodies of more than 10 are in our custody,” said Shahid.

He said the TTP had not staged any attacks during the ceasefire but the government had continued to target militants, prompting retaliation. “We started the process of dialogue with full sincerity and seriousness and for the whole 45 days, not even a single shot was fired by the Taliban,” he said. “But in response the government has been dumping bullet-riddled bodies of our colleagues—like the incident at Manghopir,” he added. The bodies of at least seven suspected militants were found in the Manghopir area of Karachi on Monday.

“We still believe that dialogue is the only solution to bring peace and stability in the country but this government has no authority and the real power lies with the military,” said Shahid. “The TTP’s doors for peace talks are still open but any atrocious and brutal act will be dealt with in the same fashion.”

The spokesman said the TTP would participate in any serious and result-oriented talks, but claimed the government did not have any authority. “It’s a disabled government, which has no power,” he said, adding, “The military is in the driving seat.”

Referring to the recent shelling of suspected militant hideouts in North Waziristan, Shahid claimed the airstrikes were targeting the civilian population. “We are fighters and fighters know how to attack and to protect themselves,” he said, adding that war comprises two segments. “Learn to attack and learn to defend yourself.”

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