Updated: 02/06/2014 19:38 | By Agence France-Presse

Pakistan government, Taliban 'begin talks'

Negotiators for Pakistan's government and Taliban met Thursday for a first round of talks aimed at ending the militants' bloody seven-year insurgency, sources said.

Pakistan government, Taliban 'begin talks'

Members of a committee from the TTP -- Maulana Abdul Aziz (R), Chief cleric of Islamabad's Red Mosque, and two senior religious party leaders, Maulana Sami-ul-Haq (C) and professor Ibrahim Khan -- pictured in Islamabad on February 3, 2014 - by Aamir Qureshi

The two sides gathered in Islamabad for a preliminary meeting likely to chart a "roadmap" for future discussions, amid deep scepticism over whether dialogue can yield a lasting peace deal.

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella grouping of numerous militant factions, has waged a bloody campaign since 2007, killing thousands of people in gun and bomb attacks across the nuclear-armed state.

An official close to Irfan Siddiqui, the chief government negotiator, told AFP the talks had begun on Thursday afternoon.

Another official at the talks venue, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House, confirmed that they had started.

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