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Senior Pakistani Taliban commander welcomes government's offer to hold peace talks

A senior Pakistani Taliban commander has welcomed the government's recent offer to hold peace talks.

Asmatullah Muawiya said in a statement Thursday that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif demonstrated political maturity by reiterating his offer to hold peace negotiations in a speech over the weekend.

Muawiya said militants in Pakistan should respond positively if the government is serious about resolving the conflict.

Muawiya is head of the Pakistani Taliban's faction of fighters from Punjab province.

It's not entirely certain whether the Pakistani Taliban's top leadership shares his sentiments. But they have backed previous statements made by Muawiya, saying he should be seen as having their support.

The Taliban withdrew a previous offer to hold peace talks in May after the group's deputy commander was killed in a U.S. drone strike.