Taliban denies it is in peace talks


A Pakistani Taliban spokesman yesterday denied an earlier announcement by the militant group's deputy chief that it was holding peace talks with the government.

The conflicting claims are a clear sign of splits within the movement, which could make it harder for Islamabad to strike a deal to end the violent insurgency gripping parts of the country – although they could make it easier to suppress militarily.

The government also said US forces had vacated an airbase that had been used to launch drones. Islamabad had ordered them out in retaliation for US air strikes last month which accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. AP