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Afghan Taliban to begin annual spring offensive from April 24

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

In an attempt to regain power from the Afghan government, the Taliban has announced its plan to launch its annual spring offensive today.

According to a statement by the militant group, the offensive, dubbed “Azm” meaning “resolution”, will start from Friday, April 24.

The announced annual spring offensive is the first one since President Ashraf Ghani assumed office in September.

“Although the foreign occupying forces announced late last year the end of their war mission in Afghanistan, still they control the land and air space of the country and the command of war is in their hands,” the statement said, adding that if the foreign occupiers want the end of war in Afghanistan, they should withdraw completely.

In the statement, Taliban militants also called upon Afghan civil and military servicemen to desert government ranks and join the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” (the name of the Taliban ousted regime) which had ruled the major part of the country before its collapse in late 2001.

The combat mission in Afghanistan led by the US and NATO-led troops ended late in December 2014. This allowed the Afghan national security force to shoulder the security responsibility of their conflict-riven country from January 1 this year.

However, more than 13,000 US-led troops under the name of Resolute Support (RS) mission still remain in Afghanistan to train and advise Afghan forces.

The previous spring offensive “Khyber” launched by the Taliban on May 12, 2014 in the shape of suicide attacks and roadside bombings, failed to capture any major city or district in the country although thousands of people, including militants, military personnel and civilians were killed and injured.

According to a report of the UN mission in Afghanistan released here in February this year, more than 6,800 people were injured and at least 3,700 civilians were killed and in the Taliban-led militancy and conflicts in 2014.

Militancy and cases of conflict typically rise in spring and summer in Afghanistan, commonly known as the fighting season among Afghans.

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