Islamabad: The Pakistan government today said the decision to launch air strikes on Taliban bases in the tribal belt was made jointly with the military but left the door open for dialogue with the banned militant group.
The air strikes in North Waziristan and Khyber Agency were undertaken because self-defence is a right that the government cannot take away from the armed forces, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told a news conference here.
The air strikes were a combined decision of the government and the military, he said, stressing that only dialogue and not war is the solution to the decade-long insurgency that has engulfed the country.
Khan quoted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as saying that pursuing talks further with the militants would not be advisable due to the circumstances currently prevailing in the country.
Terrorism and the talks cannot take place simultaneously, he said.
Sharif yesterday authorised the launch of the air strikes, days after the government suspended a fragile peace process when a Taliban faction executed 23 troops abducted in 2010.