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Pakistan officials hold direct talks with Taliban

By The Associated Press

This article was published March 26, 2014 at 9:20 a.m.

ISLAMABAD — A Pakistani government team traveled Wednesday to a secret location in the country's northwest where it held the first-ever direct talks with the Taliban, a senior Cabinet minister said.

However, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid did not share any details of the landmark talks, saying only that once the negotiators returned, it would be up to the government to make statements to media.

The Taliban spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid, confirmed the talks were held in a cordial atmosphere.

The negotiations are part of a push by the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban that would end a bloody insurgency that has killed thousands of people in recent years.

Earlier, Ibrahim Khan, a professor and a cleric who has represented the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, as the Pakistani Taliban is formally called, told reporters that the face-to-face discussions were aimed at ending years-long violence.

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