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Afghan Taliban Declares Start To Spring Offensive

Western military officials have said they expect a surge of attacks
The Taliban has declared the start of a spring offensive in Afghanistan, warning civilians to stay away from targets that could be the focus of attacks.

The militia said in a statement sent to news agencies that "operations will focus on attacks against military centers, places of gatherings, airbases, ammunition, and logistical military convoys of the foreign invaders in all parts of the country."

The Taliban statement comes a day after senior Western military officials warned they expected a surge in militant attacks over the next week.

Violence across Afghanistan hit record levels in 2010, with civilian and military casualties the worst since U.S-backed Afghan forces toppled the Taliban government in late 2001.