Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan — The Taliban on Saturday declared the start of a spring offensive in Afghanistan, warning that insurgents plan to attack foreign troops, Afghan security forces and government officials in coming days.
In a statement, the Taliban warned civilians to avoid public gatherings, military bases and convoys, as well as government buildings.
"All Afghan people should bear in mind to keep away from gatherings, convoys and centers of the enemy so that they will not become harmed during attacks of mujahedin against the enemy," the statement said.
The statement said that in addition to troops, the targets of their operation would be high-ranking officials within President Hamid Karzai's government, members of the Cabinet and lawmakers, as well as businessmen working with NATO forces.
United Nations officials, who lost eight staff members in an attack last month in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, appealed to the Taliban not to target noncombatants.