KABUL, Afghanistan, May 8 (UPI) -- The Taliban announced its annual spring offensive in a statement that called for "backbreaking martyrdom strikes" against foreign targets in Afghanistan.
It said it would begin targeting "military gatherings of foreign invading forces, their diplomatic centers and convoys, as well as the military mercenary stooges," among others, beginning Monday.
The Afghan government responded by noting the Taliban's aggressive comments were a cover for its inability to disrupt the April 5 presidential election. Talks between the Taliban and the administration of outgoing President Hamid Karzai have not led to peace or a power-sharing agreement.
"The Taliban are weakened, by all accounts," said Lt. Gen. Zahir Azimi, defense ministry spokesman. "They do not hold any base inside Afghanistan. That is why they resort to roadside bombings and targeting civilians."