KABUL: The Taliban on Friday announced their annual spring offensive, which comes as the US and Afghan politicians try to negotiate a peace settlement with the Islamist militants, reports AFP.
Operation Fath—meaning “victory” in Arabic—will be conducted across Afghanistan with the aim of “eradicating occupation” and “cleansing our Muslim homeland from invasion and corruption”, the Taliban said in a statement.The spring offensive traditionally marks the start of the so-called fighting season, though the announcement is largely symbolic as in recent winters the Taliban have continued fighting Afghan and US forces.
“Our Jihadi obligation has not yet ended,” the Taliban said.
“Even as large parts of our homeland have been freed from the enemy, yet the foreign occupying forces continue exercising military and political influence in our Islamic country.”
Qais Mangal, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defence, dismissed the Taliban’s spring offensive as “mere propaganda.”
“The Taliban will not reach their vicious goals and their operations will be defeated like previous years,” Mangal said.
After suffering horrific bloodshed in 2018, Kabul has in recent weeks enjoyed something of a lull in violence.But on Monday three US Marines were killed in a Taliban blast at Bagram air base north of the city, and authorities in the capital are on high alert for new attacks.
The administration of President Ashraf Ghani recently declared its own spring offensive, Operation Khalid, and the Taliban used that announcement as a justification for launching a new push.
It shows “the enemy still seeks to attain its malicious objectives through the use of force”, the Taliban said.
The US has held several rounds of talks with the Taliban in a bid to bring an end to the war against the insurgents.