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.
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.
To many victims of Taliban violence, the idea of negotiating with people responsible for so much human pain is abhorrent. Their voices, however, are rarely heard in Pakistan, a country where people have long been conflicted about whether the Taliban are enemies bent on destroying the state or fellow Muslims who should be welcomed back into the fold after years of fighting.
The Associated Press spoke with victims of terrorist attacks in Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi, Quetta and the tribal areas and their families to find out how they felt about negotiating peace with the Taliban.
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