Washington, Feb 7: The US State Department has pleaded ignorance about the reported announcement by Pakistani Taliban fighters of a ceasefire after months of clashes with security forces and suicide attacks across the northwest of the country.
''I'm not aware that there is any new agreement or new proposal for an agreement that would move us back in the direction of the previous arrangement,'' Department's Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey said yesterday. He however said, ''certainly, this is a serious problem. We want to see it addressed and we want to continue to work with the Government of Pakistan on it.'' Mr Casey said he had seen a couple of press reports about the ceasefire but he did not have any information that would support that there's any kind of renewal of the previous agreement that had been placed.
''I think everyone understands, including President Musharraf by his own statements, that the agreement with tribal leaders did not, in fact, produce the results that everyone, including President Musharraf, had intended.'' ''Certainly, we understand and the Pakistani Government understands the threat and challenge posed to Pakistan from these militant and extremist groups operating in the FATA, in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and we all want to see actions taken to respond to that,'' he said.
Mr Casey said the Pakistani Government has, of course, been engaged militarily in that area. There have been hundreds of Pakistani soldiers who have been killed or injured in fighting against these groups.