DERA ISMAIL KHAN (Agencies) Government intermediaries have held talks with the Tehrike Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in recent months exploring ways to jump-start peace negotiations, intelligence officials and a senior militant commander said. The discussions are focused on the South Waziristan region on the Afghan border and could be expanded to try to reach a comprehensive deal. The Taliban made several demands including the release of prisoners, said the commander. As a confidence building measure, the Pakistani Taliban released five officials from the countrys Inter-Services Intelligence agency who were kidnapped in Baluchistan province, the officials and the commander said in the interviews. An ethnic Pashtun tribal mediator described the talks as very difficult. Yes, we have been holding talks, but this is just an initial phase. We will see if there is a breakthrough, said the senior Taliban commander, who asked not to be identified. Right now, this is at the South Waziristan level. If successful, we can talk about a deal for all the tribal areas, he said, referring to Pashtun lands along the Afghan border. The government delegations that held preliminary talks with the Pakistani Taliban over roughly the past six months have included former civilian and military officials and tribal elders, the intelligence officials and a senior militant commander said in recent interviews with The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks. We never wanted to fight to begin with, said the senior Taliban commander. Our aim was to rid Afghanistan of foreign forces. But the Pakistani government, by supporting America, left us no choice but to fight. Since bin Ladens death, the TTP has vowed to attack Western targets abroad. No one from the Pakistani military or government was available to comment on the purported peace talks. This is a very difficult stage. We have had three rounds in the last two months, but there seems to be no result, said one of the tribal elders involved in the talks. It is too difficult to say if there will be a breakthrough, but we are moving in the right direction. Talk of a new peace deal could be troubling to the United States if it is seen as providing militants with greater space to carry out operations in neighboring Afghanistan. However, Washingtons push for a peace deal with the Afghan Taliban could make it difficult to oppose an agreement in Pakistan. The government has cut peace deals with the Pakistani Taliban in the past, but they have largely fallen apart.