Forces ready for full-pledged Taliban spring war: Andarabi

Interior Minister Massoud Andarbai on Monday said the Taliban were preparing for a full-pledged war in coming spring and security forces were also preparing to counter the offensive under a single operation unit.

The Wolesi Jirga summoned Andarabi and National Directorate of Security (NDS) director Ahmad Zia Siraj to brief lawmakers about the security situation in the country, especially about targeted assassinations.

The interior minister said the Taliban were ready for a full-scale war next year and therefore the country’s security and defense forces were also prepared and would act against them.

He said the operation unit involved personnel from the army, police and intelligence and they would act swiftly in case of the presence and attacks of the Taliban.

The Interior Minister said the pilot phase of the operation unit had been started in Farah province and the number and activity of the unit would be increased until spring.

Andarabi said the enemy’s plans to seize territory, especially in the south, had failed and about 1,000 Taliban insurgents had been killed in Helmand and Kandahar provinces in recent months.

“Taliban leaders headed to Pakistan in winter and resorted to assassinations in cities after failing on the battlefield.”

The interior minister said there was credible information and evidence that the Taliban were involved in recent assassinations across the country.

Andarabi also said his ministry was dubbed the heart of corruption in the past, but now corruption had been removed from the Interior Ministry and in the past two years, 3,500 ANP members were referred to the judiciary following corruption allegations.

Ahmad Zia Siraj told lawmakers that the second round of talks was an important period, but information they had received showed the Taliban did not believe in peace.

He said the Taliban were trying to delay the talks until withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in May this year.

He said the Taliban still maintained ties with foreign terrorist groups and were violating most of provisions of the agreement they signed with the United States.

Saraj said by increasing violence, the Taliban wanted to move their leadership and commissions from Pakistan to the country and the group had expanded the geography of war in the southern and southwestern provinces.

He added, “When Taliban leaders leave Karachi and Islamabad for Qatar they suffer from a guilty conscience and therefore they are trying to prepare the ground for their presence in Afghanistan.”

According to Siraj, Taliban’s efforts in the past to pave the way for their leadership presence in Afghanistan had failed and the current movements of the Taliban showed they were focused on Nangarhar province for this purpose.

The spymaster said the Taliban carried out targeted assassinations to undermine trust between the nation and the government.

He said, 3,800 people had been arrested in a year on terrorism charges, and the Taliban carried out 18,500 attacks nationwide in one year.

“The enemy is trying harder to put pressure on Kabul in an attempt to erode people’s trust in security forces,” he said.