The Taliban is denying reports it has stopped suicide attacks in Afghanistan to avoid civilian casualties.
The Islamist insurgency was responding to a New York Times newspaper article that reported Taliban leaders have ordered their fighters to refrain from undertaking suicide missions in Afghan cities in the wake of record levels of civilian casualties in such attacks.
The exclusive story quoted Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirming a change in insurgent tactics.
Mujahid rejected the remarks attributed to him and accused the American newspaper of either “misinterpreting” or “intentionally twisting” his comments. He said the issue of halting suicide attacks did not come up in the interview he gave to the paper.
Mujahid said suicide attacks are executed after thorough investigations identifying military targets wherever they exist to make sure Afghan civilians are not harmed in them.
“That is why planning of (insurgent) operations in cities takes time and they cannot be conducted in a haste,” said the Taliban spokesman. “These (suicide) attacks will be undertaken, God willing, as and when targets are identified,” Mujahid added.
The story originally appeared on Voice of America.