TORA BORA – The 2020 spring offensive in Afghanistan has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Afghan Taliban announced on Friday.
“Considering the latest information and expert analysis, we have decided at this time to postpone the annual spring offensive,” said Suhail Shaheen, the spokesman for the Taliban.
The announcement of suspending the spring offensive is the latest blow to the jihad world that has seen a slew of suspensions and cancellations due to the coronavirus outbreak. ISIS, al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taliba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Alami, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar are just a few who have suspended their seasons this week.
The Afghan Taliban spring offensive was scheduled to start March 13, but Shaheen said the “ever-increasing risks” of spreading the coronavirus contributed to the “decision that undoubtedly will be disappointing to many, although I am confident is appropriate under these unique circumstances.”
However, the Afghan Taliban have clarified that the refusal to launch the 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 going to do it,” 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.”