Talks with Pakistan govt will fail: Top Taliban commander

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Islamabad, Sept 27: As Pakistani officials and politicians mull negotiations with the Taliban to end years of insurgency, a senior rebel commander today said the talks will fail as both sides are pursuing opposing objectives.

Omer Khalid Khorasani, the Islamist commander of Mohmand Agency, one of seven lawless tribal districts in the country's northwest, said in a letter to the media that he was not hopeful about the outcome of peace overtures.

"The current wave in support of the talks is bound to fail as we have come to the conclusion that the government is not serious," said Khorasani. "The main difference is that we want to change the Constitution (with Shariah or Islamic law) and the army is demanding from us to follow the Constitution," he said.

The Taliban "will not budge an inch from the demand of implementation of Shariah" and if militant commanders deviate from this, "then we will not follow him", he said.

Khorasani said the second biggest hurdle in the way of peace is that the Taliban's demand for implementing Islamic law is for the entire country and not just the tribal region. "We will support the mujahideen living in areas other then tribal region. We will not leave them and live and die together," he said.

The letter was issued amidst reports of rifts among Taliban factions circulating in the media. Some of the reports are highly credible and have been confirmed by Taliban sources. The main Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) led by Hakimullah Mehsud has run into differences with the Jundullah group, created in 1970 for activities in Iran.

It joined the TTP in 2007 as an independent group after Pakistan provided support to Tehran to launch a crackdown against it.


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