The Taliban militant group in Afghanistan has announced the start of its so-called spring offensive, a heightened campaign of bombings, ambush attacks, and other raids that begin as weather conditions improve.
A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, announced the launch of the offensive in an online statement today. The latest spring offensive has been dubbed by the group as “Operation Mansouri,” named after a Taliban leader who was killed in a US drone strike last year.
Mujahid claimed that the offensive this year will be different from previous ones in that it will include a “political” track as well. The Taliban spokesman also boasted about the group’s “control” over more than half of the country, citing a February report by a US government special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction.
That report said the Afghanistan government has control or influence over only fifty-two percent of four hundred and seven districts last year, down from sixty-three-point-four percent previously.