(KABUL, Afghanistan) — With the weather in Afghanistan warming up and the United States on the verge of withdrawing from the region, experts are expecting the Taliban’s familiar spring offensive to be more pronounced this year.
This year marks a real test for Hamid Karzai’s government, as it is the first year that NATO will be backing up Afghan National Security Forces, rather than the other way around.
The Taliban is well aware of this, according to Stephen Ganyard, Retired Marine Col. and ABC News military consultant. Ganyard says he expects we will see “something fairly spectacular the Taliban will use to announce the resuming of the fighting season.”
NATO forces will be on guard, by Ganyard says now is when the fight begins in earnest.
“What we’re seeing here is the Taliban have their last best chance to gain military advantage in the leadup to the events of 2014, which include a NATO withdrawal, elections and hopefully negotiations for peace,” said Ganyard.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Ivana Kottasova, CNN
Alanna Petroff, CNN
Sugam Pokharel and AJ Willingham, CNN