Taliban announce launch of spring offensive
KABUL (Pajhwok): Afghan Taliban announced launching of spring offensive codenamed “Azm” (Determination) amid Afghan government assurances that the country’s security forces were strong enough to meet all challenges effectively.
Zabih Ullah Mujahid, Taliban spokesman, in a press release to Pajhwok Afghan News said the spring offensive would commence from Friday’s evening throughout the country.
Taliban had already won the 13-year long battle in Afghanistan which had forced foreign troops to withdraw from the country, the statement said.
“Foreign forces have announced to withdraw but they have their presence in some parts of the country and also take part in some military operations,” Mujahid added.
Taliban, he vowed would continue with their operation till complete departure of foreign troops from Afghanistan.
The main targets, he reiterated would be occupation forces, especially their military bases and government installations, intelligence and security forces.
He directed militants to avoid civilians casualties during the operation and those who involved in civilian casualties would be punished as per Islamic law.
However, he asked civilians to keep themselves at distance from government officials and offices since these would be the main targets.
Gen Daulat Waziri, deputy spokesman in the Defence of Ministry, called mere tall claims of militants who could not implement their designs.
Gen. Waziri assured that Afghan security forces had the capacity to confront all challenges efficiently. He said that anti-militants operations were started in 14 different provinces to purge several areas of anti-state elements.
“We are not worried about militants’ threats therefore the nation should be be worried at all,” he added.
Mohammad Hassan Haqyar, a political analyst, found mark difference in Taliban’s announcement with their last year’s announcement. Taliban announced parliamentarians and other government officials as their main targets too but they spared them this year.
Haqyar said Taliban realized they would lose their support and sympathies by killing civilians and officials.
Meanwhile, the Resolute Support mission in a statement in a reaction to Taliban’s offensive said: “This statement is more empty rhetoric by the Taliban and doesn’t reflect the reality in Afghanistan. The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces are responsible for security and have been taking the fight to the Taliban as we’ve recently seen in northern Helmand during Operation Zolfiqar.”
Deputy Director, Public Affairs RS HQs, Chris Belcher, LTC, US Army, said that one again the Taliban promised to protect Afghan civilians but they continued to be the leading cause of civilian casualties.
The United Nations Mission in Afghanistan’s first quarter 2015 civilian casualty statistics show that the Taliban and other anti-government elements continue to cause approximately 73% of all civilian deaths and injuries, Belcher added.
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