Pakistan's powerful army chief General Ashfaq Kayani on Saturday said the army supports the government's policy of dialogue with the Taliban, but could use force as a last option if the talks failed.
"The national leadership has chosen the path of dialogue to deal with this menace and the Pakistan army supports this process. But the nation and the political leadership need to determine the parameters within which this dialogue should take place," Kayani said at a passing out parade of cadets at the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) in Kakul, near the garrison city of Abbottabad.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, backed by main political parties, last month announced plans to stage talks with the militants, who have killed more than 40,000 people in a wave of bombings and gun attacks across the country since 2007.
Kayani warned that the army will not flinch from using force as a last resort if the talks with the militants fail.
Kayani's statement came amidst media reports that the army was opposed to the government's push for a peace process with the Taliban who have carried out a spiraling insurgency across the country for more than a decade.
Kayani is retiring from his post next month at the end of a second tenure as army chief.