Mangal Bagh wants to talk

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Mangal Bagh, TTP, A banned terrorist outfit led by Mangal Bagh has announced it wants to join the peace talks with the government and has asked a cleric to be its intermediary, a cleric said on Saturday.

According to the media reports, the Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) operating in Khyber Agency, a main supply route for NATO troops in Afghanistan, is blamed for many attacks on security forces, pro- government tribal volunteers and NATO supply trucks.

Bagh has gone into hiding for years in the wake of military operations in the agency. He has been fighting the security forces in the region since 2004 that has claimed lives thousands of lives.

The group has approached cleric, Tayyeb Tahiri, chief of Jamaat-e- Ishaat-e-Tauheed Wa Sunnah, which is purely a religious and non- political organisation, to contact the government on its behalf. Tahiri, who is also head of an influential religious school in Swabi District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has confirmed the group has requested him to mediate with the government. The founder of LI, Mufti Shakir, had studied at Tahiri’s religious school and had been promoting his specific and extreme ideas.

Tahiri has confirmed to the media that the group leaders have requested him to convey to the government their desire to join the peace process. The LI had initially been involved in fighting with another outfit Ansarul Islam in Khyber Agency for years on sectarian-motivated thinking.

The government has not yet responded to the offer. The dialogue offer is seen very important as it could restore peace in the region and on the main NATO supply route.

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