The Taliban on Friday announced its annual spring offensive, even while it is in peace talks with the United States and ahead of planned meetings with Afghan representatives later this month.
AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): The Taliban on Friday announced its annual spring offensive, even while it is in peace talks with the United States and ahead of planned meetings with Afghan representatives later this month.
Operation Fath, which means "victory" in Arabic, will be conducted across Afghanistan with the aim of "eradicating occupation" and "cleansing our Muslim homeland from invasion and corruption," the Taliban said in a statement.
The annual spring offensive traditionally marks the start of the so-called fighting season, though the announcement is largely symbolic as in recent winters the Taliban has continued fighting Afghan and US forces.
The administration of President Ashraf Ghani declared its own spring offensive last month, Operation Khalid, and the Taliban used that announcement as a justification for launching a new push.
It shows "the enemy still seeks to attain its malicious objectives through the use of force," the Taliban said.
The group called on Afghan soldiers, police and other pro-government fighters to join them.
The group said it will keep fighting despite gains it has made across the country because international forces continue to have military and political influence, including launching bombing attacks and ground raids.
"Our Jihadi obligation has not yet ended," the Taliban said.
Qais Mangal, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defence, said the Taliban's spring offensive is "mere propaganda".
"The Taliban will not reach their vicious goals and their operations will be defeated like previous years," Mangal said.