Pakistani Taliban end ceasefire with government but say talks still on

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:11am EDT

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DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - The Pakistani Taliban have formally ended a 40-day ceasefire but are still open to talks with the government, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

Shahidullah Shahid said the insurgents were not extending the ceasefire, which began on March 1, because the government had continued to arrest people and had killed more than 50 people associated with them.

"However, the talks will continue with sincerity and seriousness and in case there is clear progress from the government side, (the Taliban) will not hesitate to take a serious step," Shahid said in a statement.

Peace talks between the Taliban and the government began in February but the first round ended in violence. The government has released a few low-level non-combatant prisoners, but the Taliban want hundreds of men released and the army to pull back from tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

(Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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