Hawzah News Agency (Kabul, Afghanistan) - In a statement published online on Monday, the Taliban said they are planning to carry out attacks on “the enemy’s military and intelligence centers,” in Kabul as part of its so-called spring offensive.
“Therefore, to avoid civilian casualties and only cause damage to enemy military, we are asking Kabul residents to keep away... We don’t want even a single innocent civilian to be killed,” read the statement.
It did not clarify what it meant by “military and intelligence centers.”
Kabul is the heart of Afghanistan’s intelligence, government and military operations. It is overcrowded and also plagued by traffic jams due to ubiquitous checkpoints and barriers.
According to political and military analyst Nik Mohammad, “any attacks or explosions, even a small one, would cause civilian casualties because military installations are located in the center of the city near people’s houses.”
The analyst rejected the Taliban statement as pure propaganda.
The capital has seen an increase in violence after the militant group announced the beginning of its annual “spring offensive.” Violence has also increased around voter registration centers set up ahead of the country’s long-delayed legislative elections that are due in October.
This year’s offensive, the Taliban has said, would mainly focus on “crushing, killing, and capturing American invaders and their supporters.”
Kabul is already dubbed by the United Nations as the deadliest place in Afghanistan for civilians.
Besides Taliban, the Takfiri Daesh terrorists also carry out deadly terror attacks in Kabul, targeting both security forces and civilians alike.
Figures from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) show that Afghan civilians were deliberately targeted in militant attacks and bombings in 2017.
The capital is a top target, with 16 percent of all casualties during the year -- a total of 1,831 people killed and wounded -- occurring in Kabul alone.
Many civilians have fallen victim to Taliban attacks despite the group’s claims that it does not target them.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said in February that Kabul would accept talks with certain elements of the Taliban as the government finds itself under mounting public and international pressure to improve security in the wake of recent major acts of terror in the capital.