The Taliban declared a 10-day ceasefire in a Pakistani valley and freed a Chinese hostage today after it began peace talks with the government, but an abducted American remains missing. The militants called the move a goodwill gesture, as its sympathizers and government officials discuss introducing elements of Islamic law in Swat Valley and nearby areas.
“But we reserve the right to retaliate if we are fired upon,” a Taliban spokesman warned. Previous negotiations have collapsed, and a Swat retread could reignite Washington criticism that such deals only buy time for militants. Swat, once a tourist haven, has seen a sharp uptick in attacks on foreigners, including last week's kidnapping of an American UN official.