Pakistan Prime Minister Calls Soldiers Killings by Taliban Heinous

The Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif condemned the alleged killing of 23 Pakistani soldiers by a faction of the Taliban. He called the action a heinous crime.

Militants released a statement late Sunday that said they killed the 23 soldiers, who were being held for the past 4 years. Sharif said the killings would have a huge negative impact on the ongoing peace talks being held with Taliban forces.

Negotiators with the government cancelled their meeting with members of the Taliban that was set for Monday. On Monday, Shahidullah Shahid, the spokesperson for TTP the Tehreek-Taliban of Pakistan said that the soldier killings appeared to be connected to the 23 people belonging to his group that were killed since January 28.

In his statement, he said TTP would be in contact with the group in the Mohmand tribal area, which claimed it killed the soldiers.

In a prepared statement to area media, an official from the military denied any TTP men who were in custody were killed. The statement said the group was using false propaganda to justify its activities.

Meanwhile, the peace talks taking place between the Taliban and the Pakistani government stalled when the killings were reported. It prompted negotiators from the government to call off Monday’s scheduled meeting in Akora Khatak.

The negotiating committee for the Taliban expressed its disappointment that government negotiators had cancelled the meeting, saying they were close to making a decision on a ceasefire.

The strategy of the government to hold peace negotiations with militants had come under stiff criticism from some people due to attacks allegedly by the Taliban continue against both government and civilian targets over the past few days.

Last Thursday, the Pakistani Taliban said it was responsible for the attack in Karachi in a police bus, which resulted in the killing of 13 members of the police.

A group that is not well known and affiliated with the TTP announced it carried out two attacks involving grenades last week in movie theaters in Peshawar a city to the north. Those two attacks using grenades killed over a dozen people.

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