ISLAMABAD (AFP) — Pakistan on Monday banned the main Taliban militant group behind a wave of suicide attacks in the country that has killed hundreds of people since last year, the interior ministry said.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) -- an umbrella group for the Taliban Islamist militants who have threatened more suicide attacks -- will have its bank accounts and assets frozen.
"We have banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan because of their involvement in a series of suicide attacks," interior ministry chief Rehman Malik told AFP.
"They themselves have claimed responsibility of several suicide attacks and the government cannot engage in a dialogue with such people," he said.
The TTP is headed by Taliban warlord Baitullah Mehsud, based in the lawless South Waziristan tribal district bordering Afghanistan.
The outfit has been blamed for most of the attacks in which nearly 1,200 people have been killed since July last year.
The previous government accused Mehsud of orchestrating the gun and suicide attack which killed former premier Benazir Bhutto last December but he denied involvement.
The Islamic fundamentalist movement has been involved in a wave of suicide attacks targeting security installations to demand an end to an army offensive against militants near the Afghan border.
It claimed responsibility for the double bombing on the country's main army munitions factory last Thursday that killed 64 people and wounded 70 others.
"An official order has been issued to freeze all bank accounts and assets of Taliban militants and their organisations," state television reported.
Pakistan on Sunday rejected a ceasefire offered by Taliban militants in the Bajaur tribal region bordering Afghanistan after a two-week military operation left some 500 people dead.
Bajaur is a known hub of Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.
Pakistan's fractious coalition government, which forced US ally president Pervez Musharraf to resign a week ago, is under intense international pressure to tackle Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.
US and Afghan officials say the rebels use sanctuaries in the rugged tribal border regions to train, regroup and launch attacks on international troops in Afghanistan.
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