Afghanistan: Taliban pledges “imminent” offensive

The Taliban is prepared for an ambitious spring offensive, the military leader of the Islamist milita boasted in a new interview with AlJazeera TV. “The attack is imminent,” said Mullah Dadullah. “The number of Taliban mujahedin who are ready to launch the spring battle has reached 6,000.” He added that the Taliban have prepared tunnels where their fighters are hiding as they wait for the opening of the offensive. He also said the Taliban force wold grow as NATO sends more troops to Afghanistan, predicting it will reach 10,000 fighters. “The more the number of Jewish and Christian soldiers who fight us increases, the more the Afghan people will be encouraged to join us.” (DPA, Feb. 22 via Qatar’s Gulf Times, Feb. 23)

Violence in Afghanistan has so far this year left over 300 people dead—mostly Taliban. Last year over 4,000 people were killed (again mostly insurgents), making 2006 the bloodiest since the ouster of the Taliban regime in late 2001. (Gulf Times, Feb. 22)

See our last post on Afghanistan.