Pakistan, Taliban militants sign peace agreement

Pro-Taliban militants encouraged by tribal elders signed an agreement with Pakistan's government Saturday to ensure "permanent peace" in this volatile northwestern tribal region near the Afghan border, intelligence officials said. Under the agreement, which is likely to be unveiled by the government next week, no militant will attack government officials or security forces, and in return the army deployed in North Waziristan "will not carry out operations against them," said an area intelligence official on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. "This is a good development because the Taliban have promised to stay away militancy," said the official, adding "the Taliban have also agreed to distance themselves from foreign militants."