Continued from page 1

“The Afghans have an endless stamina for a long war,” the statement said. “Through a countrywide uprising, the Afghans will send the Americans to the dustbin of history like they sent other empires of the past.”

The statement was issued by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the official title used by the Taliban when they ruled the country.

The insurgent group continues to launch regular attacks and orchestrate assassination campaigns against those allied with the government. In addition to the attack in Wardak on Saturday, 10 Afghan civilians were killed in two separate roadside bombings.

Although the Taliban were swiftly driven from power by the U.S.-led coalition, they managed to use the years of the Iraq war — when America focused its military strength on the conflict against Saddam Hussein — to regroup, rearm and reorganize.

They began winning back ground lost to the international military coalition until President Barack Obama decided to send in 30,000 more troops last year to help.

Although the coalition has made some gains in the Taliban’s traditional southern strongholds, violence has not abated around the country.

The U.S. has begun withdrawing some of its 100,000 troops and will send home 33,000 by the end of next year. The international military coalition has already begun transferring security responsibilities to newly trained Afghan forces with the aim of removing all their soldiers by the end of 2014.

Bin Laden was killed in May in a raid on his house in northwestern Pakistan by helicopter-borne U.S. Navy SEALs.

___

Associated Press writers Patrick Quinn and Heidi Vogt contributed to this report from Kabul.