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Afghan Taliban Launches Spring Offensive

FILE - fghan police stand guard near burning NATO supply trucks following an attack by militants on a U.S. base near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, Sept. 2, 2013.
The Afghan Taliban says it will target international forces and high-ranking government officials in "back-breaking" strikes as part of its "spring offensive."

In a statement posted on the militant group's website the Taliban says the offensive named "Khyber" will begin on May 12 and include insider attacks and assaults on "large and well-fortified enemy bases."

The militant group says the attacks "shall inflict maximum losses on the invaders while preventing corporeal and financial losses on ordinary citizens."

The statement comes as international combat troops are set to complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of this year. Some forces could remain in the country after December 2014 in a training and advisory role if Afghan leaders approve the Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States.

U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban-led government in 2001.

An Afghan Defense Ministry called the Taliban offensive propaganda and said Afghan security forces will continue to ensure the security of the Afghan people. The ministry says the Taliban is resorting to such statements to compensate for its weakened state and its recent failures.

Despite Taliban threats to disrupt the vote and a run-up of violence, Afghanistan's April 5 presidential election took place without any major attacks.