Taliban kill senior army officer near Peshawar
20 February, 2014
ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Taliban fighters opened fire at an army car and killed a senior officer on Tuesday in an attack certain to destroy any prospects of meaningful peace negotiations between the government and the insurgents.
An attempt by representatives of both sides to meet and talk peace collapsed a day earlier after insurgents said they executed 23 soldiers in revenge for army operations in the volatile tribal regions on the Afghan border. "(The) exchange of fire continues," the army's press wing said in a statement, adding the attack took place near Peshawar.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made peace negotiations with the Taliban a central pillar of his rule but repeated failures to find a compromise have frustrated the nation and prompted calls for tough military action against insurgent strongholds.
Efforts to engage the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan have been marked by increasingly surreal scenes this month, with Taliban representatives trying to distance themselves from the violence and both sides issuing acrimonious statements. The army identified the killed senior officer as Major Jehanzeb and said three militants were also killed.
A Peshawar Taliban official confirmed the attack but there was no word from the movement's main spokesman.
"Militants attacked the convoy of a security official in Peshawar and killed one army major," said the official.