The Taliban has announced that their annual spring offensive in Afghanistan will begin Sunday.
Using an elaborately worded statement, Taliban insurgents proclaimed that a "monumental spring operation" will begin Sunday with the goal of "defeating this era’s western invaders," according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
The statement comes near the end of a month that already has been the deadliest of the year.
According to an Associated Press tally, 257 people — including civilians, Afghan security forces and foreign troops — have been killed in violence around the nation. During that time 217 insurgents have died.
It also comes at a time when US forces are winding down combat operations in Afghanistan and handing over the lead security role to the Afghan government.
The Taliban is threatening a new round of mass suicide bombings and "insider" attacks on US and coalition forces.
The group followed a similar threat last year by launching an attack in Kabul featuring suicide bombings and an 18-hour street battle that targeted the US Embassy and the NATO-led international security force headquarters.
According to USA Today, during the month of April last year 179 civilians, foreign troops and Afghan security forces were killed along with 268 insurgents.
However, the Taliban in their statement tried to reassure civilians:
"The Afghan people should not fear Taliban threats. The Afghan National Security Forces have wisely used the winter months to prepare for taking over the security lead throughout Afghanistan by mid-2013. They are ready."