Jan 19, 2014, 5:57 PM
News Code: 2625979
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Pakistani Taliban offer peace dialogue

Islamabad, Jan 19, IRNA -- Pakistani Taliban on Sunday said they are ready for peace talks with the government shortly after their suicide bomber killed nearly 20 security men and injured 30 more in the restive northwest of the country.

The Taliban spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid, said a bomber used explosives-packed vehicle to target the security forces in Bannu’s military area and killed and injured dozens of soldiers.



The military confirmed 20 security personnel were killed and 30 others were injured in a vehicle-borne IED attack in Bannu cantonment area.



Giving details of the attack the army spokesman said the explosion took place at 08:45 hours in a civil van that was rented from the market by the paramilitary Frontier Corps for moving of its troops.



“The Frontier Corps troops were sitting inside the vehicle and lined up for move to North Waziristan tribal agency,” he said in a statement.



The injured were shifted to the military hospital in Bannu and Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.



The military gunships later shelled suspected hideouts of the militants and killed several people in Mir Ali area in North Waziristan, residents said.



The Taliban spokesman said they carried out the attack to take revenge of the killing of their leaders. He claimed the responsibility in a statement and at the same time said Taliban are ready for talks with the government.



“Our stance about the dialogue is very clear. If the government proves its powers and sincerity, we are ready for meaningful talks despite our great losses,” spokesman for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan said.



He claimed that the Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud and his deputy Wali-ur-Rehman Mehsud were killed “under the pretext of the dialogue”.



Both the Taliban leaders had been killed in US drone strikes in North Waziristan but the Taliban had announced revenge from the Pakistani security forces.



“We are of the view that the government has no powers and sincerity in the talks otherwise our senior leaders would have not killed after the peace dialogue offer,” the Taliban spokesman said.

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