Afghan Taliban mediate ceasefire between Pakistan and local militants

Afghan Taliban’s Deputy Minister of Information and Culture and spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid speaks during the death anniversary of Mullah Mohammad Omar, the late leader and founder of the Taliban, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The Taliban in Afghanistan have mediated a temporary ceasefire between Pakistan and a local Pakistani Taliban militant group following talks between the two sides in Kabul, an official said on Wednesday.

The Pakistani Taliban – known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – has carried out some of the bloodiest attacks inside Pakistan since 2007. It is not directly affiliated with the Afghan Taliban, but pledges allegiance to them.

“During the talks, in addition to significant progress on related issues, a temporary ceasefire was also agreed upon,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter, confirming the talks in Kabul.

Pakistan carried out a number of operations against the TTP, but, despite reducing the militant group’s footprint, it has not been able to fully stop attacks, which, in recent months, have begun to rise again along its western border.

A TTP statement on Wednesday also confirmed that talks were underway in Kabul and that a ceasefire has been put in place will May 30.

It was not clear who was representing Pakistan’s government in the talks.

Islamabad says the TTP have been able to find safe haven in Afghanistan over the years – a charge both the Taliban and the previous U.S.-backed governments have denied.

Last year, the two sides had agreed to a ceasefire but talks failed. The talks, also held inside Afghanistan, broke down due to a disagreement over the release of TTP prisoners held by Pakistan, according to local media.

Pakistan is also currently dealing with a surge of attacks by separatist insurgents in its southwestern province of Balochistan, which also borders Afghanistan.

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