Taliban declares 2d Pakistan cease-fire
KHAR, Pakistan - A Taliban commander announced a unilateral cease-fire yesterday in a northwestern Pakistan region where the military says it has killed about 1,500 militants in an ongoing offensive.
The military was not available for comment on the Taliban's move in Bajur region, which lies next to Afghanistan.
The announcement follows the introduction of an already week-old cease-fire between the government and militants in the Swat Valley, another northwestern region, in support of a peace process there.
The United States and other Western governments have criticized the Swat truce and negotiations, saying they could create a safe haven for Al Qaeda and Taliban in the region.
Unlike in Swat, the Taliban in Bajur had been losing ground in recent months, most analysts say.
Their commander, Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, announced the cease-fire by radio.
A government administrator in tribally ruled Bajur said authorities were aware of the announcement.
"We do welcome it. If they will not fire bullets, we will also consider taking a lenient view toward them," Faramosh Khan said.
The military began its offensive against militants in Bajur in September last year and claims to have killed around 1,500 Taliban fighters. The United States has praised the offensive.