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Pakistani Negotiators Demand Cease-Fire To Restart Talks With Taliban

A police officer inspects a damaged police bus at the site of a bomb attack in Karachi on February 13.
Pakistan government mediators are demanding a cease-fire from the Taliban before they resume peace talks.

The peace committee made the announcement in a statement on February 18, referring to its "inability to continue talks" in the shadow of insurgents' attacks.

A faction of the militant group announced on February 16 they had killed 23 kidnapped soldiers, prompting the cancellation of scheduled peace talks on February 17.

On February 18, two government soldiers were killed in separate attacks in the country’s northwest.

In addition to the kidnapped soldiers, reports say some 60 people have died in Islamist-linked violence since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced the peace talks on January 29.

Muhammad Ibrahim, a member of Jamat-e Islami party who is negotiating with the Pakistani government on behalf of the Taliban, told the AFP news agency the militant group was working toward a cease-fire.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa