Taliban Unleashes ‘Spring Offensive’ in Afghanistan
The Taliban has unleashed its annual so-called "spring offensive" in Afghanistan, saying it will mainly target U.S.-led foreign "occupation" troops to force them to quit the country.
In a formal announcement released to media Friday, the Islamist insurgency claimed "Operation Mansouri" went into action early Friday morning across all 34 Afghan provinces.
It explained the offensive has been named after Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour, who was killed by an American drone last year.
"These operations will involve conventional attacks, guerrilla warfare, complex martyrdom (suicide) attacks, insider attacks, and use of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) to achieve their objectives," said the statement by the Taliban's so-called leadership war council.
While there has been no letup in insurgent attacks in Afghanistan over the past several years, the onset of springtime witnesses an intensification in militant activities because melting snows on mountain peaks allows insurgents to launch major battlefield attacks.
Friday's announcement came a week after the Taliban staged its deadliest ever raid on a major Afghan military base in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
Protesters Storm Macedonian Parliament
Protesters stormed the Macedonian parliament in Skopje Thursday, throwing chairs and attacking lawmakers after they elected an ethnic Albanian speaker.
The leader of the opposition Social Democrats, Zoran Zaev, was seen on live television with blood on his forehead.
Demonstrators blocked the door of the chamber, refusing to let lawmakers leave as they waved flags in their faces and shouted "traitors."
Police outside the building fired stun grenades to break up the crowd.
Lawmakers from the Social Democrats and ethnic Albanian parties elected former defense minister Talat Xhaferi speaker, even though the country has no functioning government.
The conservatives won December's parliamentary election, but without enough seats to form a government.