The Taliban have announced that they will launch their ‘spring offensive’ against the Afghan government and Coalition and Afghan forces starting on May 1. The announcement comes just one day after top US officers warned of a major Taliban offensive that will start this week.
In a statement released on their propaganda website, Voice of Jihad, the Taliban announced they will launch operation “Badar” starting on May 1. The statement is attributed to the “Leadership Council” of the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” which is better known as the Quetta Shura. Badar (or Badr) was a battle fought and won by the Prophet Mohammed in Mecca, Saudi Arabia; the victory is attributed to the divine intervention of Allah.
The Taliban said Badar’s primary targets would be “foreign invading forces, members of their spy networks and (other) spies, high-ranking officials of the Kabul Puppet Administration, both military and civilian, members of the cabinet, members of the parliament, Heads of foreign and local companies working for the enemy and contractors.”
The Taliban specifically signaled out members of the Afghan High Peace Council as a primary target of attacks as the council seeks to promote reconciliation and blunt the terror group’s ability to fight against the Afghan government and Coalition forces.
“Since members of the American espionage agencies, government officials of the Puppet Administration and enemies of the Afghan people and Jihad have ensconced themselves in the so-called Peace Council and are trying to pave the way for the prolongation of the American occupation by cashing in on the name of Jihad, religion and tribal chieftainship; wants to prevent Mujahideen from waging Jihad against the invaders and are urging the Afghan Mujahid people to accept American slavery and surrender, therefore, members of the Council can be target of the Mujahideen attacks during the operations as, in view of their role, they are considered official members of the ranks of the enemy,” the Taliban statement read.
The Taliban offensive would focus on “military centers, places of gatherings, airbases, ammunition and logistical military convoys of the foreign invaders in all parts of the country.” The Taliban said that their tactics would include “group and martyrdom seeking attacks,” or suicide attacks and assaults; “group offensives,” or massed assaults; “city attacks,” ambushes, and IED attacks.
The Taliban also said that “strict attention must be paid to the protection and safety of civilians during the spring operations by working out a meticulous military plan.”
However, during past and present operations, the Taliban have been responsible for the vast majority of civilian deaths in Afghanistan. According to statistics compiled by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan last summer, the Taliban are responsible for 76 percent of the civilian deaths, while Coalition and Afghan forces are responsible for just 12 percent of the civilian deaths.
While publicly the Taliban have claimed they seek to limit civilian casualties, a secretive directive issued by Mullah Omar last year shows the Taliban have no qualms about attacking civilians, including women, who cooperate with the Afghan government or Coalition forces.
The announcement of the beginning of operation Badar takes place just one day after senior, unnamed NATO military officials briefed reporters that the Taliban will launch a major offensive at the end of this month.
“We’re tracking credible intelligence that senior Taliban leaders, backed by the Haqqani network, plan to conduct attacks throughout Afghanistan from the end of April,” one official said, according to Reuters. “They’re attempting to regain momentum after the progress by the coalition over the last year.”
Also yesterday, the US Department of Defense released its biannual report on the status of the war in Afghanistan. In the report, the military said the Taliban’s momentum has been blunted by intensive conventional and special operations offensives. But the Taliban will seek to reverse their losses, particularly in the southern provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, and Uruzgan, where the Taliban have lost their traditional base of power.
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