Obama_Karzai_AFP_2_670

US President Barack Obama (L) smiles while signing a strategic partnership agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on May 1, 2012 at the Presidential Palace in Kabul. The agreement provides US military and financial support to Afghanistan for 10 years after the 2014 scheduled troop withdraw. —AFP Photo

KABUL: The Taliban on Wednesday dismissed a new strategic pact signed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his US counterpart Barack Obama as “illegitimate”.

The two presidents signed the deal to govern Afghan-US relations after foreign combat troops withdraw in 2014 in Kabul during a brief visit by Obama.

In a statement posted on the Voice of Jihad website, the militants, who have waged a bloody insurgency since a US-led invasion toppled them from power in 2001, said Karzai was not authorised to sign the document.

The Taliban “deems this document the selling-document of Afghanistan by a powerless puppet (Karzai) to his invading master and condemns it in worst possible terms”, the statement said.

The Taliban “as the true representative of the Islamic nation of Afghanistan with all its strength will continue to its armed Jihad (holy war) against all the contents of this illegitimate document until the full withdrawal of all invading forces and their puppets from Afghanistan”, it added.

Earlier on Wednesday – the first anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden by US special forces – Taliban bombers attacked a heavily fortified guesthouse complex near Kabul used by Western groups including the European Union and UN.

Seven people were killed in the attack, which the Taliban said was staged to mark the start of their annual “spring offensive”.

Moreover, the Taliban announced earlier today their “spring offensive” that is they say will begin across Afghanistan on Thursday.

Code-named al Farouq, the primary targets of the offensive would be “foreign invaders, their advisors, their contractors, all those who help them militarily and in intelligence”, the militants said on their website.

“Al Farouq spring offensive will be launched on May 3 all over Afghanistan,” the militant group said.

The militia said the code name came from Islam’s second caliph, Omar al Farouq known for his military advances in Asia and the Arab world during the seventh century.

The rebel group said it will adopt new tactics to “safeguard” civilians as part of the new offensive.

“New and tested war tactics will be implemented in the Al-Farouq operation and top priority will be given to safeguarding the lives and wealth of civilians”, the statement said.

The United Nations said civilian deaths from the Afghan conflict reached a record high of 3,021 in 2011, mostly at the hands of insurgents, up eight per cent from 2,790 in 2010.

The militants also said a committee will be assigned to “invite” members of the Afghan security forces to join their insurgency, which is now into an 11th year.

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