KABUL: The Taliban warned Kabul residents Monday to avoid “military centres” in the heavily fortified city, saying they are planning more attacks in the Afghan capital where civilians have long taken the brunt of casualties.
The militant group has issued such warnings to civilians before, including during a failed attempt to take the western city of Farah last week, but it is believed to be the first time they have singled out Kabul.
The United Nations has said the capital — where the Islamic State group is also stepping up attacks — is already the deadliest place in the country for civilians.
The Taliban said they were planning more attacks on “the enemy’s military and intelligence centres” as part of an annual spring offensive.
“Therefore, to avoid civilian casualties and only cause damage to enemy military, we are asking Kabul residents to keep away… we don’t want even a single innocent civilian to be killed,” said a statement published online.
The group did not define what was meant by “military and intelligence centres”.
Such targets are difficult to avoid given that the overcrowded city is the heart of the country’s intelligence, government and military operations and also plagued by traffic jams due to ubiquitous checkpoints and barriers.
“Any attacks or explosions, even a small one, would cause civilian casualties because military installations are located in the centre of the city near people’s houses,” political and military analyst Nik Mohammad told AFP.
The Taliban’s statement was pure propaganda, he said, adding that if they fight in the cities “you will definitely kill civilians, there is no way to avoid that”.—AFP