Talks between Pakistani officials and the leadership of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are underway in Afghanistan following seizure of Counter-Terrorism Department’s (CTD) compound in Bannu on Sunday, confirmed Mohammad Ali Saif, spokesperson of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, on Monday.

According to a foreign news agency, Pakistani authorities have been trying to resolve a stand-off with the TTP who were holding several security personnel hostages in the CTD office.

“We are in negotiations with the central leaders of the Pakistani Taliban in Afghanistan,” said Saif.

The spokesperson warned of strict action if the armed men do not surrender.

Internet services have been suspended in Bannu and the roads leading to and from the Bannu Cantonment have been blocked. 

Miranshah Road and Jumma Khan Road are closed for all sorts of movements. The sources have claimed that the terrorists are demanding a safe air route to Afghanistan.  

JIRGA OFF TO KABUL: In a bid to defuse tension at Pak-Afghan Chaman border, a 16-member jirga comprising eminent clerics, local elders and traders left for Afghanistan to negotiate with the TTP’s leadership on Monday.

Talking to journalists ahead of leaving the country, Mufti Muhammad Qasim said they are carrying a “message of peace and friendship” with them.

“We received positive response from the Afghan authorities,” he added. The cleric added that loss of the common man is not in anyone’s interest.

Following the contacts and negotiations, the ongoing tension would be defused, hoped Malik Abdul Khaliq Achakzai.

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