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On a day of grim memorials for Americans, President Donald Trump had an even grimmer warning for its enemies.
In a speech during Wednesday’s 9/11 ceremony at the Pentagon, headquarters of American military might, Trump made an allusion to Taliban forces in Afghanistan and stalled peace talks there.
And Taliban leaders should have been paying attention.
“We had peace talks scheduled a few days ago, I called them off when I learned that they had killed a great American soldier from Puerto Rico and 11 other innocent people,” Trump told his audience.
On Thursday, Army Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, of Morovis, Puerto Rico, was killed in a car bombing in Kabul, according to UPI.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, Stars and Stripes reported.
“They thought they would use this attack to show strength, but actually, what they showed was unrelenting weakness,” Trump said.
“The last four days, we have hit our enemy harder than they have ever been hit before. And that will continue.”
“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 — and I’m not even talking about nuclear power,” Trump said.
“They will never have seen anything like what will happen to them. No enemy on Earth can match the overwhelming strength, skill and might of the American armed forces.”
It was the Taliban, then ruling Afghanistan, that was sheltering terrorist leader Osama bin Laden when hijacked commercial airplanes destroyed the Twin Towers in New York City and damaged the Pentagon in attacks that killed almost 3,000 Americans.
And it was the Taliban that the United States drove from power in an invasion that started less than a month after the 9/11 attacks.
And it was the Taliban that Trump was putting on notice on Wednesday.
Trump is now the third American president to command U.S. forces in combat against the group, and there’s no doubt he has prosecuted the war with greater energy than his predecessor, Barack Obama.
At the same time, he campaigned for president vowing to put a stop to “endless wars,” so his administration has been engaged in peace talks with the group in Qatar.
However, as Trump’s speech made clear on Tuesday, it’s the Taliban who stand to gain from peace talks — and the Taliban who have much to lose if they make an insane decision that results in the United States being attacked again.
Trump’s warning was unmistakable.
It’s a warning Taliban commanders should take seriously.