TIME

Pakistan Begins Peace Talks With Taliban

The meeting will be the first direct contact between the militants and government since they began inching toward negotiations in February; the government is aiming for a ceasefire but Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has indicated military action may be used if talks fail

Pakistani government representatives arrived in the volatile area of North Waziristan on Wednesday to begin peace talks with the Taliban.

The meeting will be the first direct contact the two sides have had since a move toward peace negotiations began in February, reports the BBC. The government team arrived by helicopter and are set to meet with representatives from the Taliban in an unidentified location.

The talks were announced earlier this year by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after a series of violent attacks in North Waziristan. Militant rebels from the group Tehreek-e-Taliban Afghanistan (TTP) have been conducting a violent insurgency in the area since 2007, which has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people.

The group’s aim is to extend their deeply conservative interpretation of Sharia law across the country. Although the government has said it aims to negotiate a one-month ceasefire, outside observers predict they will be unsuccessful. Sharif has indicated that military action might be used if the talks fail.

[BBC]

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