Taliban Kicks Off Spring Fighting Season

Taliban forces launched a wave of attacks against Afghan government targets and allied military installations on Monday, declaring the start of the “Khaibar” spring offensive. In Jalalabad, Taliban militants attacked a justice ministry building, killing two policemen and at least four civilians before Afghan police killed the attackers. In Ghazni province, Taliban units attacked police checkpoints, killing at least three, reported Voice of America. Rocket attacks also took place at both Kabul International Airport and Bagram Airfield, but no injuries were reported in either attack. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks, announcing the start of fighting season via its online propaganda arm. By early Tuesday, wire reports estimated some 21 people were killed in the attacks, which were reported in six provinces, including Kabul, Logar, Ghazni, Nangarhar, Helmand, and Parwan. According to a report from the International Crisis Group, released Monday, clashes between the Afghan government and Taliban units have increased as NATO troops continue to leave. In addition, historic and unresolved grievances are reasserting themselves. The Taliban also is slowly massing larger groups of fighters, and attacking government administration posts, blocking roads, and consolidating its hold on rural areas, states the report.