Kabul: Sirajuddin Haqqani, the acting Afghan Taliban interior minister and commander of the Haqqani network, has managed to bring the Pakistani Taliban and their government to the negotiating table and mediated a one-month ceasefire between both the parties.
Go deeper: This was revealed by Pakistani Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry in a Twitter message. The Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman also confirmed the mediation of the Afghan Taliban in the talks, saying “the two sides have agreed to form negotiating teams to move the talks forward.
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But the ceasefire comes with conditions as per media reports and the Pakistani Taliban has demanded release of the group’s prisoners from Pakistani prisons.
• The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Mohammad Khorasani said in a statement that they and the Pakistani government delegation would observe a month-long ceasefire from November 9 to December 9.
• According to him, the ceasefire will be extended with the agreement of both sides.
Why it matters: The agreement comes two weeks after a Pakistani delegation came to Afghanistan to hold talks with the Pakistani Taliban in Khost province. Furthermore, Sirajuddin Haqqani, the mastermind of Haqqani Network and current interior affairs minister of the Taliban who has $10 million bounty on his head is the main architect of the ceasefire because the Haqqani network has its headquarters in the tribal areas of eastern Afghanistan and Pakistan. Haqqani is currently at the “highest-level” in the wanted persons list by the US federal police.
The backstory: TTP, the “ideological twin” of the Afghan Taliban, is largely responsible for the escalation of violence in Pakistan, which seeks to follow in the footsteps of its Afghan counterparts and establish its interpretation of Sharia, and the strict form of Islamic State in Pakistan. Last year, the TTP carried out 95 attacks in Pakistan, killing 140 people, according to Pakistani Peace Studies Institute data. The group has carried out 44 more attacks in the first six months of this year.
The big picture: What is most important to note here that even though the Afghan Taliban government lacks international legitimacy itself, it is now officially playing the role of a mediator in peace talks in its neighboring countries particularly in Pakistan. Some Afghan observers also think that the ceasefire of TTP with Islamabad mediated by the Haqqani Network chief is one of the many results Pakistan expected to receive after supporting the group for twenty years.