On Tuesday, Taliban leaders announced the start of a spring offensive, calling on its forces to engage in suicide bombings and assassinations, as part of its jihad against the American 'infidel army.'
Named Operation Omari, in honor of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, the offensive will include the expansion of guerilla warfare within the Afghan theater in an attempt to undermine the morale of the Afghan army and remaining US "advisors."
The call to arms likely means very little. In previous years, fighting has subsided in Afghanistan during the winter, when snow and cold hit areas of the mountainous border with Pakistan that militants use as their staging location.
Nonetheless, US intelligence confirms that the Taliban has witnessed a resurgence in Afghanistan, leading many to wonder whether the Afghan army will be able to prevent the militants from reclaiming the territory in the wake of the 2014 US troop withdrawal.
Last year, 5,000 Afghan troops were killed in battle against Taliban militants, marking the highest death toll for the Afghan army since the US invasion in 2001. The Taliban has also successfully recaptured several strategic regions within Afghanistan.
In fact, the Taliban surge has been so profound that several months ago Abdul Jan Rasoolyar, the former governor of Helmand province, issued pleas for US assistance on his Facebook page warning that the entire province would swiftly fall to the militant group.
In the statement, the Taliban said, "Jihad against the aggressive and usurping infidel army is a holy obligation upon our necks and our only resource for reestablishing an Islamic system and regaining our independence."
Nonetheless, unlike its radical Islamist militant allies al-Qaeda and Daesh, the Taliban’s primary concern is recapturing and preserving its own territory against what they view as a foreign occupying force, rather than instilling death and terror against Western enemies within their home countries.
The group says as much, detailing their plan to "employ a multifaceted strategy with the hope that the foreign enemy will be demoralized and forced to evict our nation."