Skip to main content

Pakistan team holds first direct talks with Taliban

By Zahir Shah Sherazi and Aliza Kassim, CNN
updated 12:34 PM EDT, Wed March 26, 2014
Maulana Sami ul Haq, a negotiator for the TTP, in Islamabad on March 22, 2014.
Maulana Sami ul Haq, a negotiator for the TTP, in Islamabad on March 22, 2014.
  • Talks to be held in tribal region of North Waziristan
  • It's the first direct contact between both sides
  • Pakistan Taliban announced a cease-fire on March 1
  • Pakistan prime minister is under pressure to bring violence under control

(CNN) -- Pakistani government representatives on Wednesday met the Taliban for peace talks in the tribal region of North Waziristan, in the first direct contact between the two sides.

Militants from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, have long conducted an insurgency against the Pakistani government and have claimed a number of violent attacks.

The government team flew by helicopter from Peshawar to meet the Taliban negotiators at an undisclosed location, sources and state media said.

TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid told CNN the talks, which ended in the evening, were held in a conducive environment. He said both sides had agreed to extend a cease-fire, agreed on March 1, and that there was consensus on the exchange of noncombatants held by both sides.

He said both sides were optimistic.

Pakistanis view of talks with Taliban

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced the initiative this year, but talks broke down last month in the wake of attacks by the group.

The government said extension of the cease-fire would top the agenda at the talks, according to Pakistan's APP news agency. It also quoted a Taliban committee member as saying his side was demanding the release of noncombatants

The militants, who are fighting for their austere version of Sharia law across Pakistan, have repeatedly rejected the country's constitution.

Since taking office last year, Sharif faced mounting pressure to bring the violence under control.

Pakistan suspends peace talks with Pakistani Taliban

CNN's Marie-Louise Gumuchian contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:02 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
With so many new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
updated 12:29 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
updated 5:45 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
The lives of everyone close to Oscar Pistorius and the girl he killed are changed forever, his siblings say.
updated 6:33 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
updated 9:31 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Serbia and Albania try to play but the major game is called off after a drone flying a political flag enters the stadium.
updated 7:36 AM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
George Clooney's new wife, is now Amal Clooney, raising the issue of married names.
updated 1:57 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
The mysterious unmanned X-37B space plane returns to Earth after more than two years in space. But the U.S. Air force isn't saying much.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.