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Rain delays govt-TTP direct talks

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ISLAMABAD: Due to bad weather the visit of government negotiators to the restive North Waziristan Agency was called off on Tuesday.
The much-anticipated direct talks between the government representatives and Taliban Shura were scheduled to take place at an undisclosed location amid speculations that it could possibly take place in Shaktoi area, which lies on the border between North and South Waziristan tribal regions. Without specifying whether the planned visit will take place on Wednesday, Professor Ibrahim, a member of the Taliban intermediary committee, told media that the talks will kick-start as soon as possible. However, sources claimed that the government representatives and members of Taliban coordination committee would be flown into the lawless region on Wednesday if the weather remained clear. Ibrahim said that a message of talk postponement was conveyed to the Taliban. The 15-member Taliban team for talks, according to sources in the region, would be led by Qari Shakil, the head of political Shura of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). He would also be accompanied by Umer Khalid Khurasani, the TTP’s head in Mohmand Agency. Khurasani was in the glare of media in mid-February for claiming the execution of 23 kidnapped officials of Frontier Constabulary.

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