Pakistan govt says committed to talks with Taliban

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Pak wants to talk with Taliban
Islamabad, Dec 17: The Pakistan government on Tuesday reaffirmed its commitment to the strategy of negotiations with the outlawed Taliban, saying the use of other options would be considered "only as a last resort".

The decision was made during a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on National Security chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The Director General of Military Operations and the Inter-Services Intelligence chief briefed the committee on national security issues.

"The Committee reaffirmed government's commitment to the strategy of negotiations with the TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan) and consider the use of other options only as a last resort," said a statement issued by Sharif's office. The committee deliberated on the government's strategy to "engage various groups of Pakistani Taliban to address issues of extremism and militancy".

Pak govt to address issues of extremism and militancy with Taliban

The meeting focussed on three issues - framing a national security strategy, a strategy on internal security and relations with Afghanistan, the statement said. A draft of the national security policy was discussed at the meeting.

Besides agreeing on measures to enhance security on the western border with Afghanistan and development of the tribal areas, the committee directed ministries to "take measures to facilitate regional peace and stability". The Interior Secretary briefed the committee on peace and security within the country.

The issue of drone attacks and relations with the US also figured in the meeting. The committee agreed that economic development and prosperity depended on ensuring Pakistan's security and stability, the statement said.

The Prime Minister briefed the Committee on his last visit to Kabul. He said several steps had been agreed on for political security and commercial cooperation with Afghanistan. Before the meeting, army chief Gen Raheel Sharif met the premier. The Cabinet Committee on National Security comprises key federal ministers, the chiefs of the three services and the Chairmans of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.

PTI

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