April 27 - The Taliban in Afghanistan vow to start a new campaign of mass suicide attacks on foreign military bases and diplomatic areas as part of a new 2013 spring offensive. Sunita Rappai reports.
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Afghan security forces fire at a building stormed by Taliban fighters in the capital Kabul a year ago.
The ongoing offensive against the Islamist group took a new turn on Saturday with a Taliban spokesman vowing a new campaign of mass suicide attacks.
Speaking from an undisclosed location, Zabullah Mujahid said the attacks would be launched on April 28.
He said they would focus on Kabul and target enemy bases.
But the spokesman for international security forces in the country, Brigadier General Gunter Katz, said Afghan forces were ready to rebuff any possible attack.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) SPOKESMAN FOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE FORCE (ISAF), BRIGADIER GENERAL GUNTER KATZ, SAYING:
"The Afghan national security forces used the winter months wisely to prepare for the handover of the lead of security in Afghanistan by mid 2013, clearly they are ready."
An Afghan interior ministry spokesman also had a warning for the Taliban.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) AFGHAN INTERIOR MINISTRY SPOKESMAN, SEDIQ SEDIQI, SAYING:
"They cannot continue to fight Afghan security forces. They have to realize that they will be killed if they fight so."
The Islamist group has made similar announcements in the past which have sometimes been followed by spikes of violence.
But the announcement is more important this year as NATO -led forces prepare to cede the lead role for security to the Afghan soldiers.
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