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Taliban makes lethal good on promise of spring offensive

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 29th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Taliban frequently makes threats it doesn't follow through on - but there are always exceptions. Announcing the start of its annual spring offensive, the Afghanistan Taliban in Afghanistan claimed responsibility for an early-morning attack that killed at least three police officers.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - "In addition to suicide bombings, insurgents warned of coordinating 'insider' attacks against 'foreign transgressors,'" the Taliban said in a statement. The terror organization later hailed the 2013 spring offensive as "monumental."

The Taliban's annual declaration of increased violence, following the harsh winter weather is widely considered a vitally important test for President Hamid Karzai's government. Karzai is preparing to take the reins of the nation's security from coalition forces, which are slated to withdraw combat troops in 2014.

Violence has escalated in anticipation of this power change. April began with an ambush of a courthouse in western Afghanistan by nine suicide attackers disguised as soldiers that left at least 44 dead, injuring more than 100.

Shortly afterwards, 25-year-old American diplomat Anne Smedinghoff was among five U.S. citizens mortally wounded by a car bomb while their convoy headed to a school to deliver books. Forty-five people on a bus died in a fiery crash with a burning oil tanker last week, which had come under insurgent attack.

According to The Associated Press, 478 people, of which 217 were insurgents have been killed in violence around Afghanistan. A total of 447 people, including 268 insurgents, were killed during the same months in 2012.

Kabul storefronts were largely shuttered for Victory Day this past weekend. The holiday commemorates the 1992 defeat of Communist rule.

On local businessman has expressed his despair with the widening violence. "NATO has done nothing for us," the 38-year-old father of seven said. "In the past 11 years, what can I say? They have done nothing. They did whatever they did for their own interests and not for us.

"Our poor nation is in the same condition of poverty and all those problems. I think the future will remain the same in future years: poverty with a lot of problems."

Not all Afghans are pessimistic. One 28-year-old woman says she is pleased with certain developments in her homeland. "We have our own security forces, the Afghan police and army," she says. "They are working for the community. They have controlled the situation very well. That's why I'm hopeful that everything will go well because our police are better prepared and trained."

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