KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Deadly bomb attacks in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar were a warning to NATO's top general that the Taliban are ready for a coming offensive in their heartland, the insurgents said Sunday.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said the bombings show the insurgents are still able to operate despite the buildup of international troops in the south in preparation for a push into Kandahar province.
"With all the preparations they have taken, still they are not able to stop us," Ahmadi said.
The multiple bomb attacks Saturday night killed 35 people but failed to free insurgents from the city prison, apparently the main target.
A separate, Taliban-linked Web site called the attacks a "warning" to Gen. Stanley McChrystal. The top NATO general has said Kandahar province is the next target for coalition forces who recently drove the insurgents from a town in neighboring Helmand province.
"Gen. McChrystal has said that soon they will start their operations, and now we have already started our operations," Ahmadi said by telephone.
The Kandahar provincial governor demanded more security forces around Kandahar city, the largest in southern Afghanistan, on Sunday. A spokesman for the Ministry of Interior said the government is considering the request.
Gov. Tooryalai Wesa said the blasts included two car bombs, six suicide attackers on motorbikes and bicycles, and homemade bombs. The attackers targeted the city's prison, police headquarters, a wedding hall next door and other areas on roads leading to the prison.