The Taliban announced the commencement of its 2019 offensive, which it calls “Al-Fath Jihadi Operations.” Unlike in previous years, the Taliban does not prioritize attacks on US and NATO forces, but instead sets its crosshairs on those working for the Afghan government, military, and police. The statement is yet another clear indication that the Taliban will not share power with the Afghan government, but instead seeks to impose its will on the country.
The name of this year’s offensive, Al-Fath or Victory, indicates that the Taliban believes it will soon prevail in the 18 year long conflict against NATO and Afghan forces. The US government has signaled it is eager to cut a peace deal with the Taliban and is attempting to negotiate its exit, despite opposition from the Afghan government.
In its announcement of the commencement of Al-Fath Jihadi Operations, which was released today in English on its official website, Voice of Jihad, the Taliban signals that while the US and NATO are “extending occupation and preventing an Islamic system” or the harsh form of Taliban rule, the foreign forces are not the prime enemy. Unlike previous offensives, which the Taliban said US and NATO forces are the prime target, the Taliban focuses its ire on the Afghan government and security services.