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Taliban to spare civilians in spring offensive

Taliban to spare civilians in spring offensive

Apr 27, 2013 - 15:55

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The Talibaninfo-icon on Saturday warned of nationwide attacks as they announced the start of their annual "spring offensive" against the Afghan government and its western allies.

In a statement, a spokesman for the insurgent movement urged the fighters to prevent civilian casualties and damage to properties as part of the spring offensive codenamed "Khalid Bin Waleed".

The militants said "multiple suicide bombings and insider attacks as well as "special military tactics" would be used to target international bases and diplomatic missions.

They warned Afghans to distance themselves from the government to avoid being harmed in the attacks, and called for young men not to join the police or army.

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

While promising not to target private installations, the insurgents urged civilians not to visit military bases of Afghan and foreign forces.

But Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman Gen. Zahir Azimi called the Taliban warning as a part of their propaganda campaign to terrorise the nation. He said the combat ability of Afghan troops had highly improved and they had the potential to thwart all sorts of attacks.

The Taliban continued to harm civilians, use their houses as trenches and innocent house inmates as human shields, he alleged, saying security forces were ready to lay down their lives to protect civilians while the rebels planted roadside bombs to kill them.

NATOinfo-icon combat forces are due to exit Afghanistaninfo-icon next year, amid claims that the Afghan army and police have made considerable progress to provide security and keep the Taliban at bay.

Mujahid said: "The enemy, with all its military might, has been overwhelmed and finally forced to flee their bases." The fighting season traditionally begins in April or May as harsh winter recedes.

"Group martyrdom operations on bases of foreign invaders, their diplomatic centres and airbases will be further structured while every possible tactic will be utilised to seize or inflict heavy casualties on the foreign transgressors," the statement concluded.



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