Taliban Offers Peace Talks To New Pakistan Leaders

A spokesperson quoted Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud as calling for negotiations with the political parties that defeated President Musharraf in last week’s parliament elections. “The Taliban movement welcomes the victory of anti-Musharraf political parties… and announces its willngness to enter into negotiations with them for bringing peace.” Mehsud claimed “we want peace, but if they impose war on us, we will not spare them.” The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz responded to the Taliban statement by stating President Musharraf has “mishandled the situation to stay in power.”

It is difficult to believe Mehsud is interested in long term peace unless it follows his Taliban version of governance. He most probably is using anger against Musharraf to obtain a cease fire during which time he will regroup and rearm. There is no question Musharraf has bungled many things, including the war against militants, but arranging peace without serious disarmament of the Taliban would be a mistake.