President Donald Trump used 9/11 remembrance commemorations Wednesday to announce an unprecedented escalation of the US military assault on Afghanistan’s Taliban — just days after he wanted to hold peace talks with the insurgents.
Speaking at a Pentagon ceremony marking the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, Trump said that over “the last four days” US forces have “hit our enemy harder than they have ever been hit before and that will continue.”
Trump said the assault was ordered after he canceled peace talks with the Taliban over the weekend in retaliation for a bomb attack that killed one US soldier last week.
The precise nature of the US offensive against the Taliban that Trump described was not immediately clear.
On Monday, Trump had already declared that “over the last four days, we have been hitting our Enemy harder than at any time in the last ten years!”
But US troop levels in Afghanistan are only around 14,000, a fraction of the peak of about 100,000 in 2010.
In his Pentagon speech, Trump also issued a threat against militants ever attacking on US soil again, saying the response would be unlike any ever seen before.
“If for any reason, they come back to our country, we will go wherever they are, and use power, the likes of which the United States has never used before,” he said.
“I’m not even talking about nuclear power. They will never have seen anything like what will happen to them,” he added.
The warlike comments were all the more startling because it was only on Saturday that the Republican former businessman announced on Twitter that he’d been about to meet with Taliban leaders on Sunday at his Camp David presidential retreat.
Before the tweet, no one outside Trump’s immediate circle was aware of the development.
It came after months of painstaking, mostly behind-the-scenes negotiations on cutting back the US troop presence and extricating the United States from a long, fruitless war.
It was also stunning for the choice of the prestigious Camp David setting on a date so close to the September 11, 2001, anniversary.
Trump’s abrupt reversal of that plan and decision to punish the Taliban for last week’s bomb attack was followed by the sacking of his controversial national security advisor John Bolton on Tuesday.
Black teens shocked after basketball announcer calls their names ‘disgusting’
A longtime announcer at high-school basketball games in Oklahoma sparked outrage last week when he said that black players on the Crooked Oak High School lady's basketball team had "disgusting" names.
Local news station KFOR reports that the announcer made the remarks during a game between Crooked Oak and rival Newkirk High School on Friday.
In a video taken at the game, the announcer can be heard saying, "The Crooked Oak Lady Ruff Necks, now their names are pretty disgusting."
Trump’s India rally turnout far lower than his prediction of seven million
Emerging in a stadium to the appropriate strains of the Village People's "Macho Man" as 100,000 people cheered on, US President Donald Trump looked like he was at a campaign rally in America's Midwest.
But the US leader was thousands of miles away, sweltering under India's scorching heat as he kicked off his first official visit to the nation with a lavish extravaganza at the world's largest cricket stadium.
Five months after being feted by 50,000 people at a mass rally in Houston, Trump revelled in pomp and pageantry once more as Prime Minister Narendra Modi went all-out to welcome him in his home state of Gujarat.
Trump is only visiting India ‘because he’s obsessed with crowd sizes’: Bollywood Star
A famous Indian filmmaker took a jab at President Trump on Twitter this Sunday, saying that his trip to India likely satiated his need for large crowd sizes after Trump addressed an audience in the Motera stadium in Ahmedabad in Gujarat, the home state of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Indian director and producer Ram Gopal Varma started out by wondering if the money India spent by welcoming Trump would be reciprocated by Americans.
"We Indians spent thousands of crores in welcoming @realDonaldTrump," Gopal tweeted. "but will Americans spend even thousands of rupees in welcoming @narendramodi to the US? That says about America and not India ...Just saying!"