The Taliban threatened on Saturday to launch a fresh offensive across Afghanistan this coming week, as President Hamid Karzai said international forces have yet to secure large parts of the country.
The Taliban said the offensive starting Monday will include assassinations of government officials, roadside bombs and suicide attacks against foreigners and those who support them.
"All foreign invading forces will ultimately face defeat," the Taliban said in a statement sent to reporters from an e-mail address used by the militants.
An increase in violence is typical in spring as mountainous Afghanistan has particularly harsh winters that limit travel and other activity.
A crucial test of the nine-year war is coming this summer, when a US-led military operation tries to clear the Taliban from the key southern city of Kandahar, the group's spiritual heartland.
Insurgents have ramped up attacks there recently. Today, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the death of a government official in Arghandab in Kandahar province.
Manan Khan, vice president of the Arghandab district shura and former police chief in the district, was killed yesterday night along with two of his bodyguards, according to district chief Syed Ali said.
In an opinion piece in The Washington Post, Karzai said today that the US and its allies still have "miles to go" in Afghanistan and international forces have yet to secure large parts of the country.