Pakistan Taliban say cease-fire with government is over

Pakistan Taliban members in Akora Khattak on February 17, 2014.

Story highlights

  • The cease-fire was agreed upon March 1 and officially was in effect until April 10
  • Pakistani government officials met with the Taliban last week to promote peace
  • The militant group had demanded the release of noncombatants

The Pakistan Taliban said Wednesday it will not extend a cease-fire with the Pakistani government, six days after a weeks-long pause in hostilities officially ended.

In a statement released to the news media, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, alleged the Pakistani government hadn't responded positively to the cease-fire, which began as a monthlong observance on March 1 and eventually was extended to April 10.

One of the militant group's leaders, Umer Khalid Khurrsani, said Wednesday that the government wasn't serious about peace and that the only way to implement Sharia, Islamic law, was jihad. The group made a series of demands this month, including the release of detained noncombatants.

Pakistan's government has not yet issued a response to the announcement, Interior Ministry spokesman Danial Gillani said Wednesday.

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The TTP has waged an insurgency against the Pakistani government, fighting for its austere version of Sharia across Pakistan and rejecting the country's constitution.

Pakistan announced a peace initiative, and a cease-fire was reached to pave the way for talks, but discussions broke down in March after Taliban attacks. Pakistani government representatives did meet the Taliban for talks on March 26, the first direct contact between the two sides.

The Taliban had made demands, including the release of noncombatants, in early April. At least 19 Taliban noncombatants were released earlier as a good will gesture to promote peace talks, said Shaukatullah Khan, governor of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

The release came at the directive of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Khan said. Since taking office last year, Sharif faced mounting pressure to bring the violence under control.

READ: Pakistan Taliban extend cease-fire, demand prisoner release

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