The Pakistani Taliban has as many as 500 female suicide bombers ready to act, a representative of the group involved in peace negotiations said, underscoring the risk of further violence if talks fail.
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The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan — known as the Pakistani Taliban, or TTP — sees no urgency to reach an agreement with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government, Maulana Abdul Aziz, one of three negotiators representing the TTP, said in a Feb. 7 interview at his Islamabad seminary. The two sides started talks last week.
“You should know that at the moment they have at least 400 to 500 female suicide bombers in Waziristan and other tribal areas,” said Aziz, former head cleric of Islamabad’s Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, referring to the TTP. “The government should realize the situation and their demands.”
Sharif revived peace talks with the group as pressure grows for a military strike after attacks last month killed more than two dozen soldiers, part of violence that caused the deaths of 40,000 Pakistanis since 2001. Failure to reach a deal would threaten Sharif’s efforts to bolster the $225 billion economy as the U.S. reduces troops in neighboring Afghanistan.