February 21 - Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban's military commander, has told Al Jazeera that he has deployed more than 6,000 of his fighters in preparation for a spring offensive against the Afghan government and its allies.
"The number of Taliban mujahidin who are ready to launch the spring battle has reached 6000," he told Ahmed Zeidan, the
Dadullah said that the fighters were concealed in tunnels and elsewhere in preparation for launching their attack.
He said he might even be able to deploy even more volunteers if Nato troop increases continued to prompt more Afghans to take up arms. "It may rise to 10.000," he said.
"The more the number of Jewish and Christian soldiers who fight us increases, the more the Afghan people will be encouraged to join us."
Dadullah, a Pashtun, is believed to be one of the closest advisers to Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader. He is believed to have joined the movement in 1994 soon after it was formed by Omar.
'New anti-aircraft weapons'
Taliban commanders also told Al Jazeera that they had obtained new weapons suitable for use against helicopters.
Although they provided no further details, the Taliban provided footage of the burning wreckage of an aircraft which they said was a
Dadullah's warnings came as Ali Jan Orkazi, the governor of the North West Frontier province of neighbouring
"As time passes, Taliban becomes more powerful," he told Al Jazeera.
"Today, they have reached a stage where many local residents support them. This makes it [the movement] evolve into a kind of a national and resistance movement; a kind of a liberation war against the coalition forces." alJazeera