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Iran Press TV

Taliban announces start of 'spring offensive' in Afghanistan

Iran Press TV

Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:21AM

The Taliban militant group has announced the start of its annual spring offensive against Afghan security forces and US-led foreign forces across the conflict-ridden South Asian country.

The Taliban said in a statement that the campaign had begun at 5 a.m. local time (0030 GMT) on Tuesday.

The militants also dubbed the offensive "Operation Omari" in honor of Taliban founder and long-time leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, who purportedly died in a hospital in Karachi, the main seaport and financial center of Pakistan, in April 2013.

The Taliban promised "large scale attacks on enemy positions … tactical attacks against enemy strongholds and assassination of enemy commanders in urban centers."

The Taliban inflicted heavy casualties on Afghan security forces during the 2015 Operation Azm, meaning determination. Nearly 6,000 members of the personnel, including soldiers and police, lost their lives while another 14,000 sustained injuries in the offensive.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) stated in its annual report that the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan during 2015 was the highest recorded.

UNAMA documented 11,002 civilian casualties, including 3,545 deaths and 7,457 injuries, in 2015, exceeding earlier record levels of civilian casualties that occurred in previous years.

"The people of Afghanistan continue to suffer brutal and unprincipled attacks that are forbidden under international law," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said.

He added, "This is happening with almost complete impunity. The perpetrators of the violations, documented by UNAMA and my staff, must be held to account. And the international community should emphasize far more vigorously that the rights of civilians should be protected."

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