Taliban postpone spring offensive due to coronavirus
The Afghan Taliban announced on Friday to postpone their annual 'spring offensive' in Afghanistan due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“Considering the latest information and expert analysis, we have decided at this time to postpone the annual spring offensive,” said Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the militant group.
The spring offensive of Afghan Taliban was scheduled to start on March 13 but Shaheen said the “ever-increasing risks” of coronavirus spread led them to take the “decision that undoubtedly will be disappointing to many, although I am confident [that this decision] is appropriate under these unique circumstances.”
He however made it clear that their suspension of spring offensive should not be mistaken for compliance with the peace deal with the US.
“No, we’ll definitely break the agreement one way or the other. In fact, pursuing the spring offensive was the way we were [earlier] going to take,” said Shaheen.
“Now we’ll just have to do it differently, keeping in mind that all our jihadist activities have to be channelised factoring the fact that we are now in the midst of a pandemic,” the spokesman added.
Many other militant groups around the world have also announced deferring their operations or at least curtailing them because of the pandemic.
In South Asia region, ISIS, al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taliba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Alami, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar have suspended their militant activity due to the coronavirus outbreak.