Blast heard near US Embassy in Kabul on 9/11 anniversary


Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, which he said killed more than 200 commandos. He concluded the op-ed by calling the invitation "an insult to all those who died on 9/11 and the American troops who gave their lives fighting them in Afghanistan".

President Donald Trump says U.S. -Taliban talks on ending the war in Afghanistan are "dead", deeply unfortunate wording for the Afghan civilians who have been killed by the tens of thousands over nearly 18 years.

The 9/11 anniversary is a sensitive day in Afghanistan's capital and one on which attacks have occurred.

After a solemn commemoration at Ground Zero in Manhattan, Trump spoke at a Pentagon event honoring the almost 3 000 people killed in the attacks - announcing an unprecedented escalation of the military assault on the Taliban.

"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", Trump said. "They've been hit very hard", he said.

Now about 14,000 USA troops remain and Trump has called it "ridiculous" that they are still in Afghanistan after so long and so many billions of dollars spent. "Yet this is precisely what President Trump tried to do when he initially invited the Taliban to Camp David for a meeting this past weekend", the Fox News contributor and AEI fellow wrote. The talks, however, excluded the Afghan government, as the Taliban considers it a USA puppet. Trump's USA negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad had announced a peace deal "in principle" with the Taliban on Monday.

Now about 14,000 US troops remain int he country. However Khalilzad said final approval still rested with Trump. The US now has about 14,000 troops in the country.

He said that over "the last four days", United States forces have "hit our enemy harder than they have ever been hit before and that will continue".

"In times of distress the heart of the American patriot only grows stronger and more determined; even in the midst of the attack the world witnessed the awesome power of American defiance", he said.