Pakistan halts air strikes against Taliban: minister
Internally displaced Pakistani tribal civilians - AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Sunday said it was halting air strikes against Taliban militants in response to a month-long ceasefire announced by the insurgents a day earlier.

“After the positive announcement yesterday by the Taliban, the government has decided to suspend the air strikes which were continuing for the past few days,” Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said in a statement.

The statement added that “the government and armed forces of Pakistan, however, reserve the right for a befitting response to any act of violence [by the Taliban].”

On Saturday the Taliban announced a month-long ceasefire aimed at resuming stalled peace talks with the Pakistan government.

Their announcement was met with skepticism by analysts who said it may have been a tactic to allow the militants to regroup after they had taken heavy losses in air strikes.

Dialogue between Islamabad and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (Pakistani Taliban) that began last month was suspended after the militants killed 23 soldiers. The military responded with a series of air strikes that left more than 100 insurgents dead.

Khan said that the “government considers the announcement of stopping of violent activities by Taliban a positive development.

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