Pakistan, Taliban Call Indefinite Truce

Militants agree to extend ceasefire in Swat valley
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2009 4:37 AM CST

(Newser) – Taliban militants and Pakistani officials have agreed to an indefinite ceasefire in the country's troubled Swat valley, Reuters reports. The agreement extends an earlier 10-day truce in which the Taliban agreed to lay down their arms in return for Islamic sharia law being enforced in the area. Militants in the neighboring Bajaur region have also announced a ceasefire.

A Taliban spokesman in the Swat valley said they had released three prisoners, including two politicians, as "a gesture of goodwill." The ceasefire follows more than a year of violence which has displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Western governments fear the truce will create a sanctuary for the region's Islamic militants, although the Pakistani military said that would not be the case if the rule of the state was re-established.