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Pakistan: Taliban Agrees to Permanent Cease-fire in Swat

  • VOA News

Government officials in Pakistan say they have reached a permanent cease-fire agreement with Taliban militants in the northwestern valley of Swat.

Syed Muhammed Javed, the commissioner of the Malakand region, which includes Swat, announced the agreement on Saturday.

The head of a hardline group of Pakistani Taliban, Maulana Fazlullah, is expected to make a radio announcement about the deal in the coming hours.

Fazlullah's father-in-law, Sufi Muhammad, who leads a separate Islamist group in Swat, reached an agreement last week with local officials to impose Islamic law (Sharia) in the region if his militants lay down their arms.

Taliban officials say Muhammad met with Fazlullah earlier this week to negotiate peace.

Militants from various factions operate in northwestern Pakistan. Some use the territory to launch attacks in neighboring Afghanistan, targeting local and international forces.

The United States and NATO have both expressed concern that the deal reached with militants last week could provide a safe haven for extremists in the already volatile region.

Meanwhile, officials say a roadside bomb exploded near a fuel tanker on a Pakistani supply line in the Khyber district used by NATO forces in Afghanistan. One person was killed, and two others wounded in the blast.

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