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Published: Tuesday February 18, 2014 MYT 7:55:09 PM
Updated: Tuesday February 18, 2014 MYT 7:55:09 PM

Taliban kill senior Pakistan officer as peace talks falter

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistani Taliban fighters opened fire at an army car and killed a senior officer on Tuesday, the military said, in an attack likely to destroy any prospects of meaningful peace negotiations between the government and the insurgents.

An attempt by representatives of both sides to meet and talk peace collapsed on Monday after insurgents said they executed 23 soldiers in revenge for army operations in the volatile tribal regions on the Afghan border.

"(The) exchange of fire continues," the army's press wing said in a statement, adding the attack took place near the volatile city of Peshawar on the Afghan border.

The statement identified the senior officer as Major Jehanzeb and said three militants were also killed.

A Peshawar Taliban official confirmed the attack.

"Militants attacked the convoy of a security official in Peshawar and killed one army major," he said. "The official announcement will come shortly."

Pakistan watchers doubt negotiations with the outlawed militant group can ever bring peace in a country where the Taliban are fighting to topple the government and set up an Islamic state.

Persistent violence also highlights the inability of the Taliban's central leadership, which has agreed to hold negotiations, to control its fringe groups and enforce a temporary ceasefire.

(Reporting by Maria Golovnina, Jibran Ahmed and Mehreen Zahra-Malik; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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