Taleban kill Pak general
A roadside bomb killed a Pakistani general and another officer on Sunday near the border with Afghanistan, the Pakistani army said.
The major-general and lieutenant-colonel were visiting troop positions in the Upper Dir district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, along the Afghan border, when their vehicle hit a bomb killing them and a soldier. “Maj-Gen Sanaullah and Lt-Col Touseef embraced Shahadat (martyrdom) this morning. They were returning after visiting troop posts on Pak-Afghan Border,” the military said in a statement. “Sepoy Imran also embraced Shahadat (martyrdom), two soldiers injured in the blast have been evacuated,” it added. Taleban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a statement condemned the blast. “Pakistan army has made substantial sacrifices to protect the nation against the menace of terrorism and such cowardly acts by terrorists cannot deter the morale of our armed forces,” Sharif said.
Separately, two roadside bomb attacks in Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan tribal district bordering Afghanistan, killed two soldiers on Sunday and wounded four others, security officials said.
Shahidullah Shahid had earlier welcomed the new government’s move to begin peace talks, but said on Sunday it must show its sincerity. “First of all, troops in the entire tribal area should go back to barracks and then our prisoners should be released,” Shahid said.
“The Pakistan government must take steps which can develop an atmosphere of trust and can remove the doubts and suspicion. We cannot move forward unless the governments accepts these two demands.”
He was speaking after the Taleban’s shura or decision-making council held three days of talks about the government offer of dialogue.
Shura members from across the country took part in the meeting and stressed the need for confidence-building measures, the spokesman said. Shahid said: “The government began a war against us and the government has to announce the ceasefire if it is really sincere in peace talks.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan will start withdrawing troops from a troubled northwestern district where Taleban insurgents shot schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai in the head, local officials said on Sunday.
The army in 2009 sent 30,000 troops to battle Taleban fighters controlled by cleric Maulana Fazlullah, who since 2007 had taken control of the scenic Swat valley and waged a campaign of beheadings, other violence and attacks on girls’ schools.
(Khaleej Times) With inputs from agencies