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For Taliban victims, Pakistani peace talks feel like betrayal

Recently, the Pakistani government and Taliban forces in the country have expressed interest in peace talks. But for thousands of civilians who have been injured or lost a loved one at the hands of the Taliban, the idea is abhorrent.

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Pakistani student Hazratullah Khan, 14, who was injured in a car bombing on December 17, 2012 in Peshawar, poses for a picture in Peshawar, Pakistan on Thursday. Hazratullah Khan's right leg was amputated below the knee after he survived a car bombing as he was on his way home from school. His response when asked whether peace talks should be held with the Taliban leaders who ordered attacks like the ones that maimed him is simple: Hang them alive.

Muhammed Muheisen/AP

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Hazratullah Khan, who lost his right leg below the knee in a car bombing, answers immediately when asked whether the Pakistani government should hold peace talks with Taliban leaders responsible for attacks like the one that maimed him.

"Hang them alive," said the 14-year-old, who survived the explosion on his way home from school. "Slice the flesh off their bodies and cut them into pieces. That's what they have been doing to us."

Khan, who is from the Khyber tribal region, pondered his future recently at a physical rehabilitation center in Peshawar.

 

"What was my crime that they made me disabled for the rest of my life?" he asked as he touched his severed limb.

In recent weeks, the Pakistani government and Taliban forces fighting in northwestern tribal areas have expressed an interest in peace talks to end the years-long conflict. An estimated 30,000 civilians and 4,000 soldiers have died in terrorist attacks in Pakistan since Sept. 11, 2001 — many at the hands of the Pakistani Taliban.

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