Taliban extends cease-fire in Swat Valley

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Peshwar, Feb.24 (ANI): Taliban militants indefinitely extended a cease-fire Tuesday in a northwestern Pakistani valley, granting more time for peace talks that the United States worries could create an insurgent haven in the nuclear-armed country.

Troops and insurgents have been observing a truce in the Swat valley since February 15, when Pakistani authorities offered to introduce an Islamic law in the region if militants lay down their arms.

A hard-line cleric is negotiating a possible deal with the militants on behalf of the government.

The Taliban cease-fire was due to expire on Wednesday, but spokesman Muslim Khan told CBS News that insurgent leaders have decided to extend it "for an indefinite period."

Khan's statement came on the heels of an announcement Monday by a Taliban commander that the militant group was to observe a separate cease-fire in the northwestern Bajur region, where Pakistani troops have won a series of victories over the armed group.

Khan told CBS News that the Pakistani Taliban movement was not interested in the "criticism of the west and the U.S.A." (ANI)

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