Taliban: Spring offensive is coming

Mullah Dadullah tells Al Jazeera he has 6,000 fighters deployed and ready to attack.

    Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban's military commander, joined the movement in 1994 [File]

    He said he might even be able to deploy even more volunteers if Nato troop increases continued to prompt more Afghans to take up arms. "It may rise to 10.000," he said.
    "The more the number of Jewish and Christian soldiers who fight us increases, the more the Afghan people will be encouraged to join us."
    Dadullah, a Pashtun, is believed to be one of the closest advisers to Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader. He is believed to have joined the movement in 1994 soon after it was formed by Omar.
    'New anti-aircraft weapons'
    Taliban commanders also told Al Jazeera that they had obtained new weapons suitable for use against helicopters.
    Although they provided no further details, the Taliban provided footage of the burning wreckage of an aircraft which they said was a US helicopter which they had shot down near Kandahar two months ago.

    The US military depends on its helicopters to reach remote parts of Afghanistan [AFP]


    Eight US soldiers were killed and 14 were wounded when their Chinook helicopter crashed in Kabul province on Sunday.
    The US military blamed engine failure for the crash. In recent months, the US has also lost an unusually high number of helicopters in Iraq and Afghanistan to enemy fire, prompting speculation that al-Qaeda and its allies have acquired new anti-aircraft weaponry.
    Warning from Pakistan
    Dadullah's warnings came as Ali Jan Orkazi, the governor of the North West Frontier province of neighbouring Pakistan, said that the Taliban was growing stronger.
    "As time passes, Taliban becomes more powerful," he told Al Jazeera.
    "Today, they have reached a stage where many local residents support them. This makes it [the movement] evolve into a kind of a national and resistance movement; a kind of a liberation war against the coalition forces."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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