Afghan Taliban declare 'spring offensive'

The Taliban in Afghanistan has announced the start of their annual "spring offensive" against the US-backed government

Afghan Taliban declare 'spring offensive'

 World Bulletin/News Desk

The Taliban in Afghanistan vowed to start a new campaign of attacks on foreign military bases and diplomatic areas, as well as damaging "insider attacks", as part of a new spring offensive this year.

The offensive was announced via emails from Taliban spokesmen. The group has made similar announcements in recent years, which have sometimes been followed by spikes in violence after Afghanistan's harsh winter months.

There was no immediate reaction to the Taliban's statement from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

After announcing their spring offensive last year, the Taliban launched a large attack in Kabul involving bombers and an 18-hour firefight targeting Western embassies, ISAF headquarters and the Afghan parliament.

The start of the traditional "fighting season" is particularly important this year, with ISAF increasing the rate at which it hands security responsibility to Afghan forces before the withdrawal of most foreign troops by the end of 2014.

The Taliban statement said this year's offensive, named after Khalid bin Waleed will involve "special military tactics" similar to those carried out previously.

"Collective martyrdom operations on bases of foreign invaders, their diplomatic centres and military airbases will be even further structured while every possible tactic will be utilized in order to detain or inflict heavy casualties on the foreign transgressors," the statement said.

Insider attacks, also known as "green on blue" attacks, involve Afghan police or soldiers turning their guns on their ISAF trainers and counterparts. They have grown considerably since last year and have strained relations between Kabul and foreign forces.

Last August, then ISAF commander, U.S. General John Allen, said about a quarter of such attacks involved the Taliban.

The spring offensive was coordinated to begin on April 28 to coincide with a national holiday to mark the overthrow of the Soviet-backed government of Mohammad Najibullah in 1992, the statement said.

Last Mod: 27 Nisan 2013, 12:59
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