Taliban announces start of ‘Operation Mansouri’

The Taliban announced the start of its “spring offensive” and named it after Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, the previous emir who was killed by the US in a drone strike in Pakistan in May 2016. Like previous spring offensives, the Taliban said that military operations would focus on foreign forces as well as Afghan security forces. Additionally, the Taliban said that it would focus on governance in “areas that have been cleansed from the enemy.”

In a statement released on Voice of Jihad today, the Taliban declared the “the Inauguration of the Spring Offensive ‘Operation Mansouri.’”

Under Mansour’s leadership, the Taliban “gained various decisive victories, annihilated highway robbers and impious people, foiled various seditions and intrigues, leaped forward in the political and social arenas, humiliated various foreign powers compelling them to leave our land, and achieve copious other proud milestones.”

Like previous years, the Taliban outlined its goals for the coming year’s spring offensive. In the “political sphere,” the Taliban said that “particular attention will be paid to establishing mechanisms for social justice and development,” “institutions will be erected,” and “special dawah [proselytizing Islam] and propagation apparatus will be set up” in areas under Taliban control.

As of late March 2017, the Taliban claimed it controls or contests 211 of Afghanistan’s 400 odd districts.

In the “military sphere,” The Taliban said that “the enemy will be targeted, harassed, killed, or captured” in areas not under its control.

Additionally, “The main focus of Operation Mansouri will be on foreign forces, their military and intelligence infrastructure and in eliminating their internal mercenary apparatus,” or Afghan security forces and the government.

As in the past, the Taliban said that it would launch “conventional attacks, guerrilla warfare, complex martyrdom attacks, insider attacks, and use of IEDs” against foreign and local forces.

The Taliban also urged civilians to “avoid enemy bases and their military and intelligence personnel” in order to limit civilian casualties, “and to assist their Mujahideen brothers by all means possible.”

While the Taliban’s yearly announcement of its spring offensive is often viewed as a propaganda exercise, Taliban military and political operations often closely adhere to the announced goals. Last year, the Taliban promised it would “employ large scale attacks on enemy positions across the country” and launch “martyrdom-seeking and tactical attacks against enemy strongholds.” The Taliban put pressure on six provincial capitals and overran several districts during last year’s offensive. Just last week, the Taliban penetrated security at an Afghan Army corps headquarters in Balkh province and killed more than 140 Afghan soldiers.

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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9 Comments

  • truth says:

    the taliban say on their website they have captured zibak district in badakshan province and are now advancing on ishkamish district following the capture of zibak district. i wouldn’t be surprised if the taliban captured the whole of helmand and uruzgan provinces in may.

  • DB says:

    … “humiliated various foreign powers compelling them to leave our land”..

    A typical Afghan sentiment. They’ve only ever “defeated” foreign powers by either deceiving them, or by being assisted by other foreign powers. The Afghan bravado is faux.

    A population of 32.5 million being cowed by a mob of under 40,000. Do the math.

    • blitzkrieg says:

      the taliban would be respected and taken more seriously if they did not do their jihad at a snails pace. the taliban talk big but they have nothing to show for it.

      • john says:

        They are taken seriously and are respected of member of the US military as well. Warriors respect each other in battle. They are fighting in a very superior tactical manner that is quite obvious and we must not judge a book by its cover. If a million of afghan and international forces cant defeat “40,000” then yes they should be taken seriously and have much to show for their speech. Many generals know they fight a hopeless war but they get their paychecks and orders, try reading some statements. The post above is comparing 32 million civilions with 40,000 fighters that is baseless statement how about 1 million soldiers who have come and gone vs the 40,000. We have to be honest here, I am for peace and the only way is to let people govern their own affairs or if we dare take the action we must take responsibility and do what empires did before and integrate and care for occupied nation and learn their culture and adapt.

        • Arjuna says:

          Terrorists who get their training in dirty, illegal tactics from the ISI receive no respect from anyone; only their fanaticism is noted. “Superior” Taliban tactics of wearing enemy uniforms, posing as medics and shooting allies in the back scream Pakistani trainers. Mr DG ISI is even in Kabul today twisting arms and making threats. Taliban are misogynist murderers who are trained and armed to fight dirty and to the death. Once Pakistan is put on the State Sponsors list, we should see some movement in the right direction.

          • DB says:

            Agree, 100%

          • MP says:

            There’s no such thing as dirty or illegal tactics in war. Wars are fought with the intention to destroy the enemy. Our use of drone or other technologies to attack and kill enemy targets can be viewed as cowardly or illegal based on your logic. But it is not, because in war people does what they must in order to win. Taliban is a formidable enemy, we cannot underestimate their capabilities.

      • DB says:

        Have nothing to show for it? They control, or influence the majority of Afghan Provinces, and regularly contest — or show they are still relevant in — populated areas such as Kabul.

        Their strategy (the long-game), works. Our public’s patience (already has), will run out far sooner than their will. History proves this ad nauseam.

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis