The Taliban militia announced their “spring offensive” would 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 announcement comes hours after Taliban insurgents armed with guns, suicide vests and a bomb-laden car attacked a heavily fortified compound used by Westerners in Kabul, killing seven people and wounding more than a dozen.

The militants claimed the attack in defiance of US President Barack Obama’s call that the war was ending during a visit to Afghanistan on the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death on Wednesday. Obama flew into Kabul in secret
in the dead of night and signed a deal with President Hamid Karzai, cementing 10 years of US aid for Afghanistan after Nato combat troops leave in 2014.

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.