ISLAMABAD, May 24 (Xinhua)-- Pakistan said Saturday that the dialogue with the Taliban has not been called off and the military operation in North Waziristan tribal region is a response to terror attacks.
The remarks came after a western news agency reported that the country's military chief has told Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a recent meeting that the army would launch military offensive and that it cannot wait for the dialogue.
The military used fighter jets, gunships and artillery to pound positions of the Taliban militants in North Waziristan and have killed nearly 70 militants over the past few days.
The Taliban have increased attacks on the security forces following the air strikes and killed at least eight soldiers in a bomb attack in Mohmand and firing on security forces Khyber tribal agencies on Saturday, the military said.
The Taliban group in Mohmand agency claimed responsibility for the attacks on the security forces and a member of the pro- government peace committee.
The Taliban spokesman in the region, Omer Khursanai, said the attacks were revenge of the military operation in North Waziristan.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that no decision for a full scale military operation in North Waziristan was taken. "There was no decision to call off the dialogue process, nor was any such demand made from either side in a recent high level security meeting,"Khan said.
Referring to the targeted strikes in North Waziristan, he said the current state of airstrikes and limited military action is in continuation of the already taken decision that any act of violence or terrorism against civilian or military targets will meet a calibrated and measured response.
The Taliban talks currently face a deadlock over several issues including Taliban demands and their infighting.