May 5, 2017

AFGHANISTAN: Afghan Taliban Announce Start Of 'Spring Offensive'. You Know The Same Damn Taliban Obama, Biden, And The Democrats Call Their Friends, LIterally. ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜ 

You have to be a fool to think you can reason with Islamist militants. They are soulless bloodthirsty demonic spirits. But then again Obama, Biden and Hillary made America the fool as they allied with Islamist extremist friends of The Muslim Brotherhood who lead ALL Islamist militant groups in every country, and whose mutual goal worldwide is to establish a global Islamic caliphate ruled by Islamic sharia law. The Taliban are responsible for two-thirds of ALL civilian deaths in the nation.
[source: The Daily Mail UK 12/20/2011] The Taliban are not our enemy, says vice-president Biden as U.S. prepares to negotiate prisoner transfer deal. U.S. prepares to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban.
[source: Fox news 12/19/2011] White House Stands by Biden Statement That Taliban Isn't U.S. Enemy.
[source: The Guardian UK 1/3/2012] The US has agreed in principle to release high-ranking Taliban officials from Guantรกnamo Bay in return for the Afghan insurgents' agreement to open a political office for peace negotiations.
The Daily Star, Lebanon
written by AFP staff
Friday April 28, 2017

KABUL: The Afghan Taliban launched their "spring offensive" Friday, heralding fresh fighting in the drawn-out conflict as embattled security forces struggle to recover from a devastating attack on a military base one week ago.

Operation Mansouri -- named after the group's former leader, killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2016 -- will target foreign forces with "conventional attacks, guerrilla warfare, complex martyrdom attacks, insider attacks", an insurgent statement said.

"The enemy will be targeted, harassed, killed or captured until they abandon their last posts," it continued.

The annual spring offensive normally marks the start of the "fighting season", though this winter the Taliban continued to battle government forces, most successfully in last week's attack on the military base outside the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

The massacre last Friday saw insurgents armed with guns and suicide bombs slaughter at least 135 young recruits, according to the official toll, though multiple sources have claimed it is much higher.

It is believed to be the deadliest by the Taliban on an Afghan military target since they were driven from power in 2001, and marked yet another psychological blow by the resurgent militants.

Already beset by killings, desertions, and struggles over leadership and morale, Afghan forces have been straining to beat back insurgents since U.S-led NATO troops ended their combat mission in December 2014.

They faced soaring casualties in 2016, up by 35 percent with 6,800 soldiers and police killed, according to a U.S. watchdog.

With more than one third of Afghanistan outside of government control, civilians also continue to bear a heavy brunt, with thousands killed and wounded each year with children paying an increasingly disproportionate price, according to UN figures.

Afghanistan's Interior Ministry shrugged off the Taliban threats Friday, saying the offensive was "not something new".

"We will target, kill, defeat and suppress the Taliban... all across the country," acting ministry spokesman Najib Danish told AFP.

The Taliban statement claimed this year will be different, however, vowing a political approach in areas it controls that will focus on state-building and "establishing mechanisms for social justice and development".

Afghan and international officials have repeatedly called on the Taliban to disarm and join the political process, a call they have so far refused.

- 'Another tough year' -

The Taliban announcement comes days after Pentagon chief Jim Mattis visited Kabul as the Trump administration seeks to craft a new strategy in Afghanistan.

Mattis warned that 2017 would be "another tough year" for Afghan security forces, but would not be drawn on recent calls by the U.S. commander of NATO forces in the country, General John Nicholson for "a few thousand" more troops to break the insurgency.

The Afghan conflict is the longest in U.S. history -- U.S.-led NATO troops have been at war there since 2001, after the ousting of the Taliban regime for refusing to hand over Osama bin Laden following the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

The U.S. has around 8,400 troops in the country with about another 5,000 from NATO allies. They are largely conducting a training, advise and assist mission aimed at supporting Afghan forces.

Earlier this month, the American military dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb on ISIS hideouts in eastern Afghanistan, killing nearly a hundred militants, according to unverified figures from Afghan officials.

The bombing triggered global shockwaves, but was criticized by observers who questioned its use against a group that is that is not considered as big a threat as the Taliban.

Some analysts even argued the strike could boost the Taliban, who had been fighting a turf war with ISIS in Nangarhar province near the border with Pakistan, where the bomb was dropped.

Two U.S. troops were killed Wednesday while fighting ISIS militants near the blast-site, the Pentagon has said, highlighting the price the U.S. is also paying for its continuing role in the conflict.

Last Friday's Taliban assault on the military base fueled fears over insider attacks -- when Afghan soldiers and police turn their guns on their colleagues or on international troops -- have been a major problem during the war.

The attackers all carried valid passes to the base, security sources told AFP, and were dressed in Afghan army uniforms. The defense minister and army chief have resigned, and authorities have arrested at least 35 soldiers over the incident so far, ranked from foot soldier to colonel.
United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan
Reported February 6, 2017

KABUL - The United Nations called on all warring parties in Afghanistan to take urgent steps to halt the killing and maiming of civilians, as a new UN report issued today recorded the highest ever number of civilian casualties in a single year, including record figures for children killed and injured in 2016.

The report documents 11,418 conflict-related civilian casualties, including 3,498 killed and 7,920 injured. Of these, 3,512 were children - 923 dead and 2,589 injured, up 24 per cent on the previous highest recorded figure. The figures, recorded by UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), are the highest since the UN began systematically documenting civilian casualty figures in 2009.

“The killing and maiming of thousands of Afghan civilians is deeply harrowing and largely preventable,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan. “All parties to the conflict must take immediate concrete measures to protect the ordinary Afghan men, women and children whose lives are being shattered.”

Anti-Government forces, mainly the Taliban, were responsible for almost two thirds of the casualties while pro-Government forces were responsible for almost one quarter.

The report notes that as in 2015, ground engagements between Anti-Government Elements and Pro-Government Forces, particularly in areas populated or frequented by civilians, remained the leading cause of civilian casualties, followed by improvised explosive devices (IED), suicide and complex attacks, as well as targeted and deliberate killings.

The report also documents the increase in attacks perpetrated by Daesh/ISKP (Islamic State Khorasan Province), particularly targeting Shia Muslims. UNAMA documented 899 civilian casualties (209 deaths and 690 injured), a ten-fold increase from last year. The majority of the casualties caused by Daesh/ISKP occurred in three large-scale attacks on the Shia Muslim community.

Airstrikes carried out by Afghan and international forces caused 590 civilian casualties (250 deaths and 340 injured) nearly double that recorded in 2015 and the highest since 2009.

Yamamoto, who is also head of UNAMA, condemned the unrelenting and devastating impact of ground engagements on civilians, as well as of the increasing number of large-scale suicide attacks that intentionally targeted civilians.

Yet another record year of civilian suffering in Afghanistan,” he said. “Unless all parties to the conflict make serious efforts to review and address the consequences of their operations, the levels of civilian casualties, displacement and other types of human suffering are likely to remain at appallingly high levels.”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said the casualty figures painted a picture of the most vulnerable sectors of society paying the highest price. “Children have been killed, blinded, crippled – or inadvertently caused the death of their friends – while playing with unexploded ordnance that is negligently left behind by parties to the conflict. Women continue to be brutally punished in parallel so-called ‘justice’ processes while religious minorities are targeted as they pray in their mosques,” Zeid said.

“And the consequences of each act of violence ripple through families and entire communities that are left broken, unable to sustain themselves and largely failing to obtain any semblance of justice or reparation. After nearly 40 years of constantly evolving armed conflict in Afghanistan, a Daesh  (ISIL, ISIS) franchise has now surfaced as an additional, deadly component. It is about time the various parties to the conflict ceased the relentless commission of war crimes and thought about the harm they are doing to their mothers, fathers, children and future generations by continuing to fuel this senseless, never-ending conflict,” said Zeid.

Yamamoto and Zeid called on all parties to minimize the use of explosive weapons in areas populated by civilians and to ensure explosive remnants of war are removed. They also stressed the need for accountability and justice for violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law.

“The continuation of attacks targeting civilians and indiscriminate attacks by Anti-Government Elements – in particular, IED and suicide attacks in civilian-populated areas − is illegal, reprehensible and, in most cases, may amount to a war crime. It is imperative that the perpetrators, whoever they are, be held accountable for such acts,” the report states.

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