The Taliban announced it will launch its annual spring offensive on Sunday, meaning the Islamic extremist militants will step up attacks as the weather in Afghanistan warms.
The statement by the former Afghan government comes toward the end of a month that has already seen the most violence so far this year.
The Taliban’s leadership vowed on Saturday that “every possible tactic will be utilized in order to detain or inflict heavy casualties on the foreign transgressors.” The attacks are expected to include suicide attacks on military bases and diplomatic areas.
The announcement is yet another sign that the Taliban is attempting to replace Afghanistan’s government with one that promotes a stricter interpretation of Islamic law. The group named its new spring offensive after Khalid ibn al-Walid, a legendary Muslim military commander also known as “the Drawn Sword of God.”
Along with threatening suicide attacks for the yearly spring offensive, the Taliban also threatened more insider attacks by members of the Afghan security forces. The attacks are committed against their military colleagues and foreign troops. The attacks have threatened the strength of the Afghan forces as they work to take over all power from international troops.
Afghanistan’s defense ministry has already responded to the threat of a Taliban spring offensive. The ministry stated on Saturday, “The Afghan National Army is ready to neutralize the offensive.” They added that the soldiers now have the support and trust of many Afghans.
The Taliban launches a spring offensive every year when the weather warms up. Warmer temperatures mean it is easier to travel and fight in the region. The group sent out a press release about the campaign, saying that the offensive will target “America, NATO and their backers for the gratification of Allah Almighty, independence of Afghanistan and establishing in it an Islamic government while we humbly raise our hands towards Allah Almighty for its success and hope for a favorable and triumphant end.”
It is not yet clear what the United States’ response will be to the annual Taliban spring offensive.
[Image via LCpl. Kenneth Jasik]