Afghanistan reacts at Taliban's announcement of spring offensive

Erica Roy
May 3, 2017

Last week, they staged what is believed to be the deadliest-ever Taliban attack on a military installation, which left at least 135 recruits dead.

The Taliban militants, who ruled the country before being ousted in late 2001, renewed armed insurgency, killing government troops as well as civilians.

The U.S. has been aiding the Afghan Security Forces in their battle against the IS in Afghanistan and estimates that the extremist group has about 800 fighters in the country.

Ahmadi said the offensive would be a mix of conventional, guerrilla and suicide attacks on Afghan and foreign forces, underlining the challenges facing the United States administration as it weighs its options in Afghanistan.

Followers were told they can be "suicide attacks, complex attacks and inside attacks" by soldiers or police turning against their peers.

The Taliban would also focus on developing areas "cleansed from the enemy", the statement said.

The assault led to the resignations of the Afghan defense minister and the army chief of staff, as well as fear and suspicion among security forces that the militants had help from inside.

The report said that as of March this year, 210 children had been killed - up 17 percent from the same period last year.

Beginning in 2016, Afghan security forces backed by USA military advisers have launched a major offensive against ISIS, with Nicholson saying that the terror group has lost about half of its fighters and been ejected from two-thirds of its territory.

Bullet holes are seen on the wall of a mosque at the military headquarters where the Taliban attack occurred last week in Mazar-i-Sharif, northern Afghanistan April 25, 2017.

On the other hand, when Taliban are planning to scare their foes with spring offensive, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson said in February that he needed a few thousand more global troops to break a "stalemate" with the Taliban.

"I believe this will be a hard year for Afghan security forces, as they will be facing the resilient Taliban's complex and sophisticated attacks countrywide", he told AFP.

Nicknamed "the mother of all bombs", the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb was dropped from an American MC-130 aircraft in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, bordering Pakistan.

The troops were working with partnered Afghan soldiers in the raid against ISIS Khorasan, a local offshoot of the jihadist group based in Iraq and Syria. But it was criticised by observers who questioned its use against a group that is that is not considered as big a threat as the resurgent Taliban.

The US has around 8,400 troops in the country with about another 5,000 from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, as efforts to negotiate a lasting peace settlement between Kabul and the Taliban have repeatedly fallen through. The target was IS hideouts in the Achin district of Nangarhar province.

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