30 Apr 2011

Afghan Taliban declares start to spring offensive

7:05 pm on 30 April 2011

The Taliban has declared the start of a spring offensive, saying they plan to target foreign troops in Afghanistan as well as Afghan security forces and government officials in a wave of attacks across the country.

In a statement, the Taliban warned Afghan civilians to stay away from public gatherings, military bases and convoys, as well as Afghan government centres, as these would be the focus of attacks.

The statement comes a day after senior military officials and Western diplomats warned they expected a surge in militant attacks around the country over the next week.

Senior military officials said recent intelligence reporting indicated that the attacks planned by the Taliban, supported by the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network and other insurgents, would include suicide bombings.

Two senior coalition commanders said they anticipated the campaign of increased violence would last about a week.