Afghanistan: Taliban declares start of new spring offensive

Kabul, 28 March (AKI) - Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan have declared the start a new spring offensive.

The announcement was made in a statement released on Islamist websites on the Internet in Arabic and English.

The statement was from Mullah Bradar Muhammad Akhand, who referred to himself as deputy emir of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

Akhand called on all Afghans to unite with the Taliban to fight against foreign troops present in the country and the government of Afghan president Hamid Karzai.

"The winter season is about to end, and here spring looms on the horizon, and in order for the continuity of doing the holy jihad, with the coming spring season, the Islamic Emirate begins a new series of operations under the name 'Admonition'," said the statement.

"Our aim in these operations is to give the enemy an admonishing lesson through conclusive and painful strikes that he does not anticipate, until he knows and is compelled to end the occupation of Afghanistan and withdraw until the last soldier leaves."

In the statement, the Taliban said that they had acquired a lot of experience in the last few years and that they would be carrying out "new types of operations" throughout the country.

They also called on civilians and military members of the Afghan administration to leave their posts within the Karzai government and join them in their battle to "liberate the country".

Last year Afghanistan saw a record level of violence since the Taliban was ousted in 2001. Nearly 6,000 people were killed in 2007. About a third of them were civilians and more than 200 foreign troops were also killed last year.


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