Pakistani Taliban Announces Ceasefire With Government

Pakistan calls it a "positive development" toward addressing recent violence

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The Taliban in Pakistan announced a one-month truce Saturday to allow negotiations with the government to move forward, a move Pakistani authorities called a “positive development” after deadly strikes interrupted peace talks last month.

A spokesman for the Taliban, Shahidullah Shahid, said he wanted a ceasefire “because of a positive response from the government, an appeal from the religious scholars and for the better future of Pakistan,” reports the BBC. He called on the Pakistani government to end U.S. drone strikes and introduce Sharia law in the country.

The two sides will meet “within a day or two” said Pakistani officials after 17 days of talks. “This is the first big breakthrough that we are seeing,” said Irfan Siddiqui, an advisor to the prime minister.

Violence has flared up in the region and hundreds have been killed by the Taliban in recent months as U.S. forces prepare to leave Afghanistan, and talks between the Taliban and the Pakistani government had dragged on with little to show until the ceasefire was announced.

Negotiations ceased last month when Taliban-linked militants said they killed 23 soldiers they were holding and the government responded with airstrikes on dissidents in the country’s northwest. On Saturday, a bomb attack on a polio vaccination team killed 11 in northwest Pakistan, but the Taliban has not claimed responsibility for the attack.