Pakistan: The Pakistani Taliban (TTP) said Wednesday they will not renew a ceasefire they called over a month ago to facilitate peace negotiations.
TTP spokesman, Shahidullah Shaihid, said that the Taliban shura had decided not to extend the ceasefire because more than 50 of their activists were killed in custody during the past 40 days and added that the justifiable demands of the militant organization were not met.
Shahid however said that the Taliban would be willing to hold meaningful dialogue if the government was ready for serious talks.
Comment: The TTP announcement surprised the government which recently announced the imminent start of comprehensive peace talks. The TTP made clear over a month ago its demand for the release of prisoners. The Pakistan Army balked at this and the Interior Ministry tried to placate the TTP with a partial release. The mysterious disappearance and death of people in official custody are longstanding and very serious issues in Pakistan that have been the subject of multiple inconclusive investigations.
The TTP has internal strains and needs that act as disincentives to make compromises. Hard line, religiously intolerant fighting groups refuse to negotiate and refuse to stop attacks until they establish an Islamic emirate in Islamabad. The suspension of talks helps preserve the façade of unity among the fighters.
Looting accompanies some types of attacks. The fighting groups are not mainstream contributing members of their tribes. Sustainment is a continual challenge. Thus, they cannot stay idle for long, because of necessity and probably temperament. Expect attacks to increase.
NATO-Ukraine: NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on 16 April that NATO will immediately strengthen its military presence on its eastern border, Kiev Post reported.
Comment: Rasmussen appeared to be reiterating or reframing moves already in progress to strengthen the NATO republics that border Russia. Of minor interest is that Ukraine's largest English language newspaper would run the story. NATO has no intention or ability to rescue Ukraine. That is Rasmussen's message. Everything the NATO members have done to date may be interpreted as giving the Russian leadership a green light and a pass on Ukraine.That judgment is not intended as a criticism for not doing more.
Ukraine: Eastern Ukrainian villagers showed up today to halt the Kiev regime's security operation.