Taliban leader says prepare for ‘final attack’

Kabul, March 17 (IANS) Taliban leader Mullah Mansour has ordered his fighters to prepare for a “final attack” in Afghanistan, even as the government seeks to restart peace negotiations with the insurgents.

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“With the help of God, strong faith and resolve (…) and high morale get ready for the final attack on the enemy,” Mansour said in a statement released on Thursday, referring to the war against the Afghan government and foreign troops deployed in the country.

Mansour said the Taliban “are united and getting stronger day by day,” and described reports on internal power struggles – that surfaced last July after news broke out that the former leader of the Taliban, Mullah Omar, had died in 2013 – as “enemy propaganda”, EFE news reported.

Mansour’s statement comes at a time when the government is attempting a revival of dialogue with the insurgents that was truncated with the announcement of Mullah Omar’s death.

Presently, the Taliban controls almost one-third of the Afghan territory, the largest area under its control since the fall of the Taliban regime following the US invasion in 2001, according to a recent report by the US appointed watchdog, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

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