ISLAMABAD: The Afghan Taliban have announced that they will launch a “spring offensive” from May 12, with attacks across the country at a time when foreign troops were devising an exit strategy.
The announcement this year comes just weeks ahead of the presidential election runoff as no candidate secured 50 percent plus one vote in the April 5 polls. The second round is expected in mid-June.
A statement from the “Leadership Council of Islamic Emirate” says ‘Khaibar’ operations will formally start across Afghanistan from May 12 at 5am.
The Afghan government and Nato have not yet responded to the Taliban’s announcement.
In the past they rejected these offensives as propaganda.
“In order to fully complete our religious obligation and in defence of our Islamic homeland, we once again announce our annual spring operations under the name of ‘Khaibar’ with the onset of the new military year against invaders and their backers,” a statement from the Taliban stated.
The Taliban said the main target of the operations would be foreign invaders and their backers including spies, military and civilian contractors, and everyone working for them such as translators, administrators and logistics personnel.
In a veiled reference to some of the US troops staying in Afghanistan beyond 2014, the Taliban said their struggle will continue even if a small number of foreign forces stayed.
The council said the year 2014 holds critical importance as fighters will “exert greater effort and utilise complex military techniques in planning their current year spring operations as compared to the past.”