Taliban promise suicide assaults, ‘insider attacks’ in this year’s spring offensive


The Afghan Taliban announced that this year’s spring offensive would begin on April 28 and would focus on suicide assaults on Coalition installations, as well as “insider attacks” against Western personnel.

The Taliban, under the guise of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, announced the “‘Khalid bin Waleed’ spring operation” on their website, Voice of Jihad, today. The offensive is named after a companion of the Prophet Mohammed and military general whose victories helped establish the first caliphate.

The Taliban indicated that the attacks would focus primarily on the “foreign invaders,” or Coalition forces operating under the command of the International Security Assistance Forces. The Taliban stressed that they would use “special military tactics” and “collective martyrdom operations,” a reference to suicide assaults, and “insider attacks,” or green-on-blue attacks, in which Afghan security forces attack ISAF personnel.

“This year’s spring operation, in accordance with its combat nature, will consist of special military tactics quantity and quality wise while successful insider attacks, to eliminate foreign invaders, will be carried out by infiltrating Mujahideen inside enemy bases in a systematic and coordinated manner,” the Taliban stated.

“Similarly, collective martyrdom operations on bases of foreign invaders, their diplomatic centers and military airbases will be even further structured while every possible tactic will be utilized in order to detain or inflict heavy casualties on the foreign transgressors,” the statement continued.

The Taliban carried out several suicide assaults on major ISAF installations last year, including attacks in Kabul and three other provinces just days after announcing the 2012 spring offensive. The Taliban’s most successful suicide assault against an ISAF installation took place at Camp Bastion in Helmand province. A 15-man Taliban team penetrated security at the base, destroyed six Marine Harriers and damaged two others, and killed the squadron commander and a sergeant.

Insider, or green-on-blue attacks, spiked last year, with 44 such attacks reported; these attacks accounted for 15% of Coalition deaths. There have been four insider attacks reported so far this year. The Taliban claimed last August that they had created a “Call and Guidance, Luring and Integration” department to infiltrate Afghan forces or turn personnel against their Western partners.

The Taliban’s announcement today also warned Afghans to “stay away from the bases of the invaders, their residential areas or working for them in order to avoid civilian losses.” Additionally, the Taliban called on “all the officials and workers of the stooge Karzai regime to break away from this decaying administration.”

Finally, the Taliban called on Afghan “religious figures, tribal elders and all the influential figures of society” to discourage men from “joining the ranks of America’s mercenary programs (army, police, arbaki [tribal militias])….”

Each spring, the Taliban have issued similar statements about their planned offensives, and the targets of the operations have also been similar. In an announcement of the Al Badar spring offensive in 2011, the Taliban said they would 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; and “city attacks,” ambushes, and IED attacks.

Last year’s spring offensive, dubbed Al Farooq, also indicated the Taliban would attack ISAF personnel, but differed from the previous year by putting a stronger emphasis on targeting Afghan security personnel and government officials.

The recent stronger emphasis on the targeting of foreign personnel is an indication that the Taliban are seeking to score a propaganda victory by attacking Coalition personnel as the bulk of forces are withdrawn this year. ISAF is ending combat operations and withdrawing its military forces by the end of 2014 and transferring security responsibility to Afghan forces.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • mike merlo says:

    this Spring Offensive will end up much like the last few Spring Offensives; in favor of the Afghan Government & its supporters & allies.

  • chris says:

    Will stupid people still think insider attacks are caused by “cultural differences” even as the ISI and Quds force murder more Afghans in uniform by stabbing them in their backs? Oh and good luck to the Taliban trying to keep morale up with the Bilateral Security Agreement getting signed this year. Victory’s going to come any year or decade now, right?

  • EDDIED. says:

    The USA military and the ISF promise they will kill or capture you so, bring it on.

  • Matt says:

    When has it ever ended in favor of the Afghan Government? Its pretty much common knowledge by now its one of the most corrupt in the world.

  • an Afghan says:

    Shame on us if a handful ragtag ISI foot soldiers defeat the mighty American forces, NATO forces and Afghan forces … What the Hell is wrong with us? Why can’t we destroy these sellouts/Spring warriors/backstabbers and murderers?

  • mike merlo says:

    when has a “Spring Offensive” not ended in favor of the Afghan Gov’t? Besides what does corruption have to do with ‘it?’

  • KaneKaizer says:

    an Afghan,
    Weak leadership. That’s why.

  • chris says:

    Considering how the Afghan government’s writ and international force’s presence has continued for all of the last spring seasons of attempted rape, mass murder and mayhem I’d say the Afghan government is doing fine.
    Also a government’s corruption has no bearing on whether or not it will win a counterinsurgency if the insurgency is itself a *more* corrupt puppet foreign imposed foreign government that ruined the country while in office that declared open warfare against half of the population and commited genocide.

  • larry says:

    The planned Spring Offensives haven’t produced huge ISAF casualty counts but to say systemic government corruption has no bearing on its long term prospects in handling an insurgency is absurd in my opinion. Mali vis-à-vis AQIM is one recent example.

    Corruption may have little deciding influence on the way things unfold in the next two weeks but the Taliban have been fighting for almost 12 years against the greatest military power this world has ever seen (after defeating the Soviet juggernaut). Spring offensive aside, the Taliban threat is very real and will only rise when as the US draws down. Victory has a hundred fathers but defeat is an orphan. First the Soviets then the US; what kind of propaganda piece will that make?

    The Afghan government has their work cut out for them and internal corruption on its part is as valuable as any truckbomb to the Taliban. Regarding the Bilateral Security agreement, the fact that the US is backing away from dealing with the Karzai government until after the elections can’t be indicative of the US having a high degree of confidence in the Afghan state.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    I’ve said this numerous times: the ‘spring offensive’ announcements are largely theater, and effective theater. The Afghan people are the primary targets of these announcements. The announcements are effective because the Taliban winds up doing what it says (even if not to the degree that we think is effective). The Taliban is showing the Afghans that it has staying power, and it do what it says it will do. We, on the other hand, have shown we won’t outlast them. As the Taliban saying goes: The West has all the clocks, and the Taliban has all the time.

  • mike merlo says:

    when has Afghanistan not been corrupt? Besides what you makes think the Taliban are any less corrupt than the Afghan Gov’t if not more? If support for the Taliban is so ‘widespread’ then where is it? The Taliban received next to ‘zero’ support from the locals when the US first showed up in Oct of 2001 & over the course of the last decade or so there has yet to be any demonstrable ‘open presence’ of the Taliban in Afghanistan besides the ‘area(s)’ immediately adjacent to Khyber Pakhtunkwa & FATA of Pakistan.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    The Taliban openly rules large areas of Afghanistan before the surge in 2010. This wasn’t just in areas adjacent to K-P. Many districts in Kandahar and Helmand were under Taliban control. I expect that to happen again in some if not many areas once US forces leave.

  • Neo says:

    How the fight goes as the U.S. leaves will depend on a number of factors.
    How much direct military support the Taliban gets from Pakistan, in troops & weapons.
    How quickly and completely the U.S. washes its hands of the whole mess.
    How (in)competent or loyal the Afghan army is. (Will it quickly become the Northern Alliance II?)
    How (in)competent and senselessly cruel the Taliban is. (looks like a mixed bag)
    If government members of Pashtun ethnicity suddenly, slowly, or don’t bolt from their government & army posts.
    Best case realistic prospects. Outside of hard core ISI supporters the Pakistani military doesn’t show the Taliban much support beyond lip service and is more interested in keeping the whole mess out of their hair rather than have the extremist groups gunning for them from the tribal hinterlands. U.S. government gives the Afghan military some significant military support, air & special forces. Much of the Pashtun south is very heavily infiltrated by the Taliban, but the Taliban finds it difficult to apply any sort of knockout blow. Thing linger on with the power base of the Afghan government gradually shifting to the north. The Pashtun populous becomes every bit as alienated with the Taliban as they are with the Afghan government. The Taliban still gets the upper hand in the south because the Afghan government finds it difficult to support pro-government Pashtun’s in the south. Even with heavy infiltration the Taliban finds it difficult to either take or cut off Kabul. The war drags on and support for the Taliban starts to wane.
    Worst case scenario. An overly quick withdrawal by the U.S. precipitates splits in the Afghan government and army. Splits are largely along north south ethnic lines with Pashtun’s scrambling for the exits. The Democratic administration in the U.S. washes its hands of the whole mess to placate its progressive base. The U.S. cuts much of its support. The Pakistani army fully supports a big push by the Taliban and by some miracle doesn’t screw up its own efforts. Things start to cascade in the south with a massive abandonment by Afghan forces. The speed of the unraveling throws off the reestablishment of another Northern Alliance leaving the north unable to patch up factional differences. The position of a new Northern Alliance becomes entirely defensive with a growing wave of infiltration of the north. Training camps for the international jihad reestablish a major presence in the south. Things get ugly fast.
    I actually don’t think the worst case scenario is the most likely. It is a possibility, but I expect the unraveling to be much more gradual with the whole mess evolving into a north vs. south standoff, with either side being able to hit the other hard. If the Taliban can’t take Kabul rather quickly they might end up needing to raze and depopulate the entire city rather than control it. You will likely see a wave of Pashtun’s from the north heading south as the Northern Alliance finds it necessary to expel large numbers of ethnic Pashtuns from the north in a desperate bid for security.

  • strYker555 says:

    Well Taliban, we see your insider attacks and suicide assaults. We raise fleets of even more deadlier killer drones and well trained Afghans forces.
    By the way. Bodies of killed Taliban inside attackers should be burnt. No Islamic last rites should be had for them.

  • Marc says:

    More attacks – no way! I do not think suicide attacks can ever stop, maybe slow down but is these people’s culture. Try removing or banning explosive material and maybe the attacks can diminish, US get out of there!!!

  • mike merlo says:

    while there is no doubting of citing pre-2010 conditions, however brief & ‘patchy’ they may have been, I stand by the ‘couching’ of my position, “…demonstrable ‘open presence.'”
    “I expect that to happen again in some if not many areas once US forces leave.”
    My general impressions on the matter of US & Coalition ‘withdrawals’ vary somewhat. Giustozzi, Rubin, Rashid, & others have devoted much time & ‘scholarship’ to Najibullah’s Dictatorship, the Mujahideen ‘scramble,’ & the Taliban’s ascendancy & demise & the AfPak Theater/history in general.
    IMO as long as the US, elements of the coalition & the International Community maintain more than just a transitory cosmetic presence in 2015 & beyond, supply Afghanistan at responsible ‘levels’ with ‘War Fighting Material,’ & satisfy ‘humanitarian’ needs Afghanistan will ‘weather’ any & all internal & external challenges to its stability.

  • Mr T says:

    And the soccer fields will once again be used to kill the collaborators. Heads, hands, and feet will be cut off. Poppy production will skyrocket to fund the next wave of international jihadis training and launching attacks from Afghanistan and many, many more people will die at the hands of the cowardly dogs of jihad.

  • Hakeem says:

    Like every year, the Taliban are getting stronger and stronger. They operate open courts, which people prefer, rather then going to the corrupt judges and courts set up by the heroin smuggler Karzai and his CIA bosses.
    America will not last here. It has to run away while minimizing losses. Dont worry American’s, we’ll chase you, first out of our country. Next, we’ll come to yours and bomb the crap out of you like you bombed our women and children.
    You have committed enough attrocities! Viva La Freedom! Viva La Taliaban. Taliban Zindabad! Amreeka Murdabad

  • strYker555 says:

    @ Hakeem
    Hahaha. You filthy swine. It wont be that easy, it will not go as you think satan.


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