İSLAMABAD — The Taliban announced Friday its annual spring offensive in Afghanistan amid a U.S.-led push for a negotiated settlement to the 18-year-old war with the Islamist insurgency.
The offensive dubbed “Al-Fath,” which means “victory” in Arabic, commenced throughout the country early Friday morning with an objective to establish an “Islamic system” in an Afghanistan “cleansed from American occupation,” said a Taliban statement.
Observers, however, say the announcement is largely symbolic because insurgents in recent years have not eased battlefield activities during winter and have staged major attacks against Afghan forces as well as their U.S.-led NATO partners.
Afghan Defense Ministry officials swiftly rejected the insurgent offensive as “mere propaganda,” saying the government resolved to defeat it through ongoing spring operations.
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