Taliban militants declared a case-fire Wednesday in fighting with Pakistan forces and he government said it was preparing fo peace talks with al-Qaida-linked extremists in the lawless tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan. A spokesperson for the Taliban siad the truce would include not only the tribal belt near the Afghan border, but the restive Swat region to the east. Maulvi Mohammed Umar, said: “The declaration of war we made against security forces was on orders of Baitullah Mehsud. We now withdraw that for an indefinite period.”
Interior Minister Athar Abbas said the government would soon form a jirga or tribal council of influential figures, “for a dialogue with the militants.” Ismail Khan, a journalist on the scene, questions the decision for a cease-fire. “Why did the governmen launch the military operation and then abandon it half way through without achieving its objective? It boggles the mind.” It appears militants have suffered large casualties during the Pakistan army attacks and most probably wanted a cease fire in order to regroup.
From all descriptions, Baitullah Mehsud is a crafty tyrant who intends to extend Talibn power throughout the region. Why the cease-fire except for the reality of being pounded by the Pakistan military and needing time to regroup and reorganize?