Dawn : Pakistan rejects truce offer by militants in tribal area

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pakistan rejects truce offer by militants in tribal area

August 24, 2008

KHAR, Pakistan, Aug 24 (AFP) - Pakistan on Sunday rejected a ceasefire offered by Taliban militants in the troubled Bajaur tribal region near the Afghan border as troops killed seven more rebel fighters, officials said.

Advisor to Prime Minister on Interior Affairs Rehman Malik immediately rejected the offer.

“We will not accept the ceasefire,” Malik told reporters in Islamabad. “We do not believe in their verbal commitments. If they are sincere they should first surrender,” he said, adding that tribal militants have violated their pledges in the past after troops stopped their operations.

Pakistani forces moved into Bajaur, a known hub of Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants, earlier this month.

The government says at least 500 militants have been killed since then.

Troops fired artillery shells and gunship helicopters pounded suspected militant hideouts almost daily since the operation was mounted on August 6.