The Taliban have handed over a list of prisoners they demand the release of before further talks can take place in a stalling peace process in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD - The Taliban has handed over a list of 765 "non combatant" prisoners to be released as behind-the-scenes efforts are made to resume the suspended peace talks between the Pakistan government and Taliban.
Maulana Yousaf Shah, one of the three-member Taliban negotiating team, told reporters Saturday that the list had been handed over to the government authorities.
Release of non combatant prisoners who have been held in custody is one of the Taliban's three major demands for the resumption of the peace process, which aims to bring an end to the insurgency in the country that has already killed thousands, including over 4000 security personnel since 2002.
Meanwhile Professor Ibrahim Khan, another of the Taliban negotiating team, admits that a simmering deadlock is haunting the peace process. “Efforts are underway to resume the suspended peace talks, but there are some bottlenecks that need to be removed first."
Ibrahim, a former senator, told Anadolu Agency that internal differences within the Taliban is one of the hurdles in the resumption of talks with some groups contending that the government is not sincere in its efforts.
The peace talks began January 29, but were suspended after Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan ended its 40-day long ceasefire in April.
Attacks on security forces followed after the end of the ceasefire in the country's tribal belt beside Afghanistan. However, the attacks have been far fewer than in the past.
In response, Pakistan's army jets have pounded suspected militant hideouts in Waziristan and Khyber, killing nearly 50 "insurgents".
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