- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Taliban announced Tuesday the start of their warm-weather fighting season, vowing “large-scale attacks” in the 15th year of its war against the U.S.-backed Afghan government.

The militants made their announcement in an email to media outlets, saying its spring offensive had begun at 5 a.m., The Associated Press reported.

The Taliban is calling the campaign “Operation Omari” after Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, who died three years ago. 

In their statement, the militants promised “martyrdom-seeking and tactical attacks against enemy strongholds,” suggesting they plan to use suicide bombings.

The Taliban added that in areas under their control, “mechanisms for good governance will be established so that our people can live a life of security and normalcy,” the AP said.

Responding to the Taliban’s announcement, Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s interior ministry said the militants “just want to show they they are still there,” the Agence France-Presse reported. 

“In the past 14 years they were not able to reach their goal, and we will not allow them to do that” he said. 

The Afghan government has been trying to bring the Taliban to the table to negotiate a peace deal, but the militants have been unwilling to engage in talks.

Dawlat Waziri, a spokesman for the war-ravaged country’s defense ministry, said government forces were prepared to hit back.

“Now that the Taliban have rejected peace talks, we are prepared to respond to war with war,” he said, AFP reported.

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