‘US drones must stop before peace talks’

MIRANSHAH: Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Wednesday insisted US drone strikes in the country’s northwest must stop before they will consider peace talks with the government.

The main political parties last month backed a government proposal to seek negotiations with the militants.

TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid told AFP any ceasefire must include an end to US drone attacks in the tribal areas, which have been targeting suspected Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants since 2004.

“A ceasefire alone is not sufficient. The stoppage of drone strikes is essential, otherwise — if drones continue to strike — we will not accept the ceasefire,” Shahid said.

The government publicly criticises the strikes as counterproductive and a violation of sovereignty.