The Taliban has pledged a new spring offensive against coalition troops in Afghanistan, starting on May 1st and commemorating the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded in kind, saying that the U.S. would take the opportunity of bin Laden's death to "redouble our efforts."
"Today, our sacred Jihad against all foreign invaders in Afghanistan successfully steps up to the threshold of its tenth year, with the help of the Almighty Allah (SWT) and your prideful Jihad and selfless sacrifice," said a Taliban declaration featured on jihadi websites. "With the approach of the spring, the Leadership Council of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan wants to declare the launching of the spring military operations christened as 'Badar' to be waged against the invading Americans and their foreign Allies and internal supports."
Among the grievances cited is the desecration of "the holiest Divine Book of the Muslims, the Holy Quran." Reports of dozens of operations on May 1st and 2nd have been announced on jihadi websites, and one attack featured a 12-year-old suicide bomber.
The nine-point declaration reiterates previous targets, including foreign and domestic soldiers, the "Kabul puppet administration," the negotiating body called the Peace Council, international aid workers and employees of companies. It also called on Mujahideen groups pay "strict attention" to the "protection and safety of civilians," while telling innocents to stay away from "gathering, convoys and centers of the enemy." The naming of the new operations Badar corresponds to a classic battle of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, in which he wiped out key polytheist leaders.
In remarks Monday, Clinton stressed that bin Laden's death did not mean an end to the U.S. fight against al-Qaida and their Taliban allies. "Our message to the Taliban remains the same, but today it may have greater resonance: You cannot wait us out. You cannot defeat us. But you can make the choice to abandon al Qaida and participate in a peaceful political process," she stated at the State Department Monday morning. "The fight continues and we will never waver."
"History will record that bin Laden's death came at time of great movements towards freedom and democracy, at a time when the people across the Middle East and North Africa are rejecting the extremist narrative," she said. "There is no better rebuke to al Qaida and its heinous ideology."