In a telephone call to the Associated Press, Taliban spokesman Mohammed Hanif acting on behalf of Omar promised that “this year, with the beginning of summer, Afghan soil will turn red for the crusaders and their puppets, and the occupiers will face an unpredictable wave of Afghan resistance.”
An e-mail containing a copy of the statement was later sent from an anonymous address.
The two page statement claimed that hundreds of young Afghan men had enrolled to become suicide bombers, and stated that 2006 will be “the year of success and victory for Muslims.”
The statement was signed by Omar, and goes on to say that “young Afghans are coming to mujahedeen camps in large numbers to enroll their names for suicide attacks.”
An Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman dismissed the statement as “propaganda” claiming the insurgency lacks the strength to carry out complex coordinated attacks.
Omar also assailed President Bush for statements he made in opposition to the Hamas victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections last January, and blamed recent sectarian violence in Iraq on the U.S. presence there.
The statement condemned U.S. motives in the Middle East, saying, “Those who have attacked the holy soil of Islam and their puppets will face shameful defeat because Muslims now understand that Western infidels want to eliminate our beliefs, soil and culture and make us their puppets.”
Suicide attacks, rare in the early days of the Afghan insurgency, are becoming a matter of concern in Afghanistan where approximately 30 have been carried out in the last six months.
Mullah Dadullah, Omar’s counterpart in southern Afghanistan, told the AP in December that 200 people have registered to be suicide attackers.
Historically, violence in Afghanistan tends to escalate in the summer as the ice that blocks the high mountain passes where insurgents make their hideouts, begins to thaw.
Recent reports reveal that 1,600 people were killed in Afghanistan in the last year, indicating that violence in the region is at its highest level since the 2001 U.S. invasion.