Pakistan Allegedly Paid Taliban $6M After Agreeing To Cease-Fire
The Pakistani government paid the Taliban $6 million after they agreed to a cease-fire in northwestern Pakistan, according to Adnkronos International.
Well-placed security sources have told Adnkronos International (AKI) that the militants agreed to lay down their arms and endorse the deal between the government and local leader Sufi Mohammad to impose Sharia law in the region.
"The amount has been paid through a backchannel, " a senior security official told AKI on condition of anonymity.
"It is compensation for those who were killed during military operations and compensation for the properties destroyed by the security forces. In fact, negotiations for this package were finalised well before Maulana Sufi Mohammad signed a peace deal."
The security official said the amount was delivered from a special fund of president Asif Ari Zardari.
AKI also reports that the money included a contribution from the US, though it does not elaborate how much or how it got the information.
Earlier this week Pakistan and the Taliban agreed to a permanent cease-fire in the volatile region that borders Afghanistan. Pakistan has agreed to implement Sharia or Islamic law in the region in exchange for an end to Taliban attacks.
The cease-fire has come under significant criticism as it is seen as a sign that Pakistan is capitulating to the Taliban.
In Salon, Susanne Koelbl writes that Pakistan is more focused on India than its internal problems and therefore "accepts Talibanization as a necessary evil."
In Islamabad, President Zardari sought to downplay the defeat, noting that the agreement with the radicals requires them to lay down their weapons. But hardly anyone believes this. Even government officials in the affected region admit that "the Taliban are using the truce to rearm." Taliban militants announced Tuesday they had indefinitely extended the cease-fire in the Swat Valley, which was due to expire on Wednesday, allowing more time for peace talks with the government. But a Mingora resident suspects that this is only in order to avoid their troops being disarmed.
In effect, Pakistan, a nuclear power, has relinquished its sovereignty over an important part of the country.