Pakistan Taliban divided on extension of ceasefire

ISLAMABAD – The militant network that heads Pakistani Taliban groups appears to be divided on whether to agree to extend a month-long ceasefire with Pakistan's government, with several senior members making contradictory statements on Wednesday.

Omer Khalid Khurasani, the head of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan's (TTP) Mohmind Agency faction, announced earlier Wednesday that the network would not be renewing the ceasefire, accusing the government of violating it. Shortly afterwards TTP spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid said no decision had been made but admitted that there was division within the group's consultative council.

A member of the council, Azam Tariq, released a statement on local television channels saying that neither Khurasani nor Shahid represented TTP policy and that the matter was still being discussed.

Khurasani, who is known for his dissent within the group, later told reporters that his comments were made sarcastically but a member of the TTP negotiating team told Anadolu Agency that Khurasani was admonished for his comments by TTP leadership.

He had earlier said: “We have not extended the ceasefire due to continuous violation of ceasefire on the government’s part ... Now, the war will resume again.”

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