A four-member jirga visited Afghanistan’s Paktika province to meet senior leaders of the proscribed TTP and bring them to the negotiating table with the government of Pakistan a few days ago….reports Asian Lite News
Members of two tribal jirgas (traditional assembly) from North and South Waziristan have travelled to Afghanistan in an effort to resume peace talks between the Pakistan government and the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terror group, The News reported.
A four-member jirga visited Afghanistan’s Paktika province to meet senior leaders of the proscribed TTP and bring them to the negotiating table with the government of Pakistan a few days ago.
“Actually the important jirga is from the Mehsud tribe that is led by former senator and noted religious leader Maulana Saleh Shah. This jirga started its work a month ago and paid three visits to Afghanistan,” a source close to the peace talks said.
Maulana Saleh Shah belongs to Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam of Maulana Fazlur Rehman group and enjoys a good reputation among the Taliban as well as government and security establishment, The News reported.
Maulana Saleh Shah confirmed to The News his three visits to Afghanistan in the past few weeks, saying the only purpose of their efforts was to help restore peace in the country.
“We wanted to keep the peace process secret from the media but since it’s no longer a secret, therefore, I can confirm it to you that we held some crucial meetings in our three visits and there are good developments,” he said.
He said they did not meet TTP leader Hafiz Noor Wali Mehsud directly but held meetings with the representatives he had nominated for the peace talks with Pakistan.
“This issue is like a critical patient suffering from multiple serious diseases for 20 years. Therefore, nobody should expect it to be resolved so quickly,” Maulana Saleh Shah said.
Maulana Saleh Shah, who contributed to the peace process in the past between the government and Taliban, was optimistic of the peace talks, saying the jirga members were satisfied with the cooperation and sincerity of the two sides, the Pakistan government and TTP leadership, the report said.
Another tribal jirga, headed by tribal chief Malik Nasrullah Khan, left for Afghanistan’s Khost province via the Torkham border on February 20.
The jirga from North Waziristan was tasked with talking to Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Bahadar and his men in Khost.
Bahadar is the leader of the North Waziristan-based Taliban, who shifted to Afghanistan after the government launched a massive military offensive in June 2015.
He was believed to be a pro-government Taliban leader but had been accused of some devastating attacks on security forces in North Waziristan.