Taliban launch spring offensive
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 4/12/19, 11:33 am
The Taliban on Friday announced a spring offensive amid ongoing peace talks with the United States and Afghan forces. In a lengthy statement delivered in five languages, the Islamic extremist group said the operation would focus on “cleansing our Muslim homeland from invasion and corruption.” The Taliban release a similar statement every year, though it has carried out near-daily attacks against security forces over the winter. On Monday, a roadside bomb near the main U.S. airbase in the country killed three Marines.
The United States has continued to push for peace talks, led by envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, in the 17-year war. Taliban and Afghan officials are scheduled to meet next week in Qatar, where the insurgent group has a political office. The Taliban refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Afghan government, which it calls a puppet of the United States, and said it was meeting only with “ordinary Afghans” in Qatar.
On Friday, International Criminal Court judges rejected a request to investigate U.S. officials for possible war crimes in Afghanistan, citing a lack of evidence and the unlikelihood that the United States, Taliban, or Afghan forces would cooperate.
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.