ISLAMABAD: The United States has warned Pakistan against striking a peace deal with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the sources said.
Washington maintains that the TTP’s latest offer of dialogue was in fact motivated by the fugitive Ameer of Afghan Taliban Mullah Mohammad Omar, primarily to secure greater physical co-operation of the Pakistani Taliban in Afghanistan where the fighting season the annual spring offensive — is getting closer with the end of the winter spell.
According to well-informed diplomatic circles in Islamabad, the Obama administration has made it clear to the Pakistani military and political elite through the highest diplomatic channels that any peace deal with the Pakistani Taliban at this stage could invite the wrath of the US and might result in the suspension of military and economic assistance.
The US intelligence community is convinced that the TTP’s dialogue offer to Pakistan was a tactical ploy to ensure a short-term truce with the Pakistani establishment, which would be used to whole-heartedly support the Afghan Taliban in their upcoming spring offensive against the US-led allied forces stationed in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, a Taliban spokesman on Wednesday dismissed the outcome of a conference in London between the leaders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Britain which aimed to work towards a peace deal within six months.
But Zabihullah Mujahid, writing on the militia’s website, did not appear to reject the possibility of progress in other peace talks.
The Taliban have demanded that any negotiations should be between themselves and the United States.
The conference and other “horse trading” were “the real obstacles of effective and fruitful negotiations between the factual sides”, wrote Mujahid in English in an apparent reference to that longstanding demand.
The Taliban have consistently refused to negotiate directly with the Western-backed Kabul government, which they have been battling since they were ousted from power in a 2001 US-led invasion.
Mujahid accused Western forces of facing military defeat and using such conferences as propaganda to conceal the deadlock in the country and to “show that some activity and progress is going on.”
Mujahid told reporters by telephone that the views in the lengthy website “article” would be followed soon by an official Taliban response to the conference.
The leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan said in London on Monday they would work to reach a peace deal within six months, while throwing their weight behind moves for the Taliban to open an office in Doha.