Pakistani PM says talks with Pakistani Taliban are underway

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 31, 2013 11:03 AM
Pakistani PM says talks with Pakistani Taliban are underway

LONDON (Reuters) - Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on Thursday his country had started talks with the Pakistani Taliban, a British government source said.

The Pakistani Taliban, an umbrella group of factions operating independently from their Afghan Taliban allies, are fighting to set up an Islamic state in Pakistan.

The Pakistani government has been trying to negotiate a peace settlement to end years of fighting, but the al Qaeda-linked group had previously said it was not open to talks.

It had also said it would not disarm and would not talk to the government until the army pulled back from its strongholds and all its prisoners were released.

Sharif's meeting with Clegg took place in a central London hotel, and included a discussion of Pakistan's relationship with India, the global energy market, and economic reforms in Pakistan, said the British government source.

British Prime Minister David Cameron hosted a meeting with Sharif and Afghan President Hamid Karzai in London earlier this week.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Andrew Osborn)