By JANE PERLEZ and PIR ZUBAIR SHAH, New York, June 29, 2008
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — With Islamic militants tightening their grip around Peshawar, kidnapping residents and threatening the city itself, the new coalition government of Pakistan delivered its first military response to the Islamists on Saturday.
The action was limited, with security forces shelling territory outside Peshawar held by an extremist leader. Army forces were not used, and the intent apparently was merely to push the militants back from the city’s perimeter.
But the shelling was the first time the new civilian government, which has been committed to negotiating peace accords with Pakistani Taliban and other Islamic militants, resorted to military action.
In response, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, announced that he had suspended his participation in peace talks.
The Pakistani channel Samma TV reported that Mr. Mehsud had threatened to take the fig…