Taliban wants Imran Khan to represent it in peace talks
Such a team could relay the Taliban’s view to the government effectively
Dera Ismail Khan
Monday 03 February 2014
The Pakistani Taliban wants five well-known political and religious figures, including the former cricketer Imran Khan, to represent them in peace talks with the government, according to a statement.
Mr Khan’s party said he was unlikely to accept the role. But the Taliban statement, released yesterday, is one of their clearest signs to date welcoming the negotiations proposed by Pakistan’s prime minister.
The Taliban’s emailed statement said that the group “evolved a consensus on setting up such a team that could contact the government’s team easily, and that could relay the Taliban’s view to the government and Muslims of Pakistan effectively”.
Mr Khan, whose Tehreek-e-Insaf party runs the government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, near the Taliban’s tribal strongholds, said in a statement that the Taliban should select its own members as representatives. However, he said his party will discuss how it can “further the dialogue”.
Mr Khan is strongly pro-negotiations and has led a campaign against US drone strikes targeting militants.
The other four prospective negotiators – three members of right-leaning parties and a hard-line cleric – indicated in recent days that they might speak for the militant group, after media reports that the Taliban had been considering them.
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