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Afghan Taliban Declare Spring Offensive04/25 06:39

   KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- The Taliban announced their annual spring 
offensive in Afghanistan on Wednesday, at a time when insurgents are already 
regularly launching attacks and battling security forces.

   The group issued a statement Wednesday saying that the "Al-Khandaq" 
offensive would make use of "new and intricate tactics" aimed at "crushing, 
killing and capturing American invaders and their supporters."

   The onset of spring has traditionally brought an uptick in violence in 
Afghanistan, as melting snows allow fighters to more easily traverse the 
mountainous terrain.

   But in recent years the Taliban and an Islamic State affiliate have carried 
out near-daily attacks in all seasons. The Taliban have seized control of 
districts across the country and regularly target Kabul, the capital.

   The U.S. formally ended its combat mission in Afghanistan in 2014, but 
thousands of American troops remain in the country in a counterterrorism and 
supporting role. The Trump administration has sent thousands of additional 
troops to try to change the course of America's longest war.

   Gunmen attacked a checkpoint in Kabul late Tuesday, killing three Afghan 
police, said district commander Ghulam Sarwar. No one has claimed the attack, 
in which the assailants escaped.

   Another three police were killed in a similar attack in the western Baghdis 
province early Wednesday, according to Mohammad Naser Nazari, a provincial 
council member.

   In the southern Kandahar province, a local journalist was shot and killed, 
said Zia Durrani, spokesman for the provincial police chief.

   He said Abdul Manan Arghand, a local TV journalist, was shot dead by two 
gunmen on a motorcycle as he drove to work.


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