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Kabul to Trump: What did you mean when you said you could wipe Afghanistan off the face of the earth?
KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan called on Tuesday for an explanation of comments by U.S. President Donald Trump in which he said he could win the Afghan war in just 10 days by wiping out Afghanistan but did not want to kill 10 million people.
Trump's remarks followed a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House on Monday at which Trump voiced optimism that Pakistan could help broker a political settlement to end the nearly 18-year-old war in Afghanistan.
The remarks drew a stiff response from Afghanistan's presidential palace, which has been excluded from talks between the United States and the Taliban and which accuses Pakistan of supporting the insurgency.
"The Afghan nation has not and will never allow any foreign power to determine its fate," the presidential palace said.
"While the Afghan government supports the U.S. efforts for ensuring peace in Afghanistan, the government underscores that foreign heads of state cannot determine Afghanistan's fate in absence of the Afghan leadership," it said in a statement.
It called for clarification of Trump's statement.
In his comments in Washington, Trump said Pakistan was helping the United States "extricate" itself from Afghanistan, where the United States was acting as a "policeman" rather than fighting a war.
"If we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan and win it, I could win that war in a week. I just don't want to kill 10 million people," Trump told reporters at the White House where he was hosting Khan.
"I have plans on Afghanistan that, if I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth. It would be gone," he said.
"It would be over in — literally, in 10 days. And I don't want to do — I don't want to go that route."
Senior Afghan politicians largely refrained from comment, but commenters on social media were infuriated.
"Your insulting message to (Afghanistan) is either accept the (Pakistani) proposal for peace or eventually you may have to use nukes," former intelligence chief Rahmatullah Nabil wrote on Twitter.
"The statement was embarrassing and an insult to all Afghans," said Shakib Noori, an entrepreneur based in Kabul, the capital.
Khaled Hosseini, the Afghan-American author of the best-selling novel, "The Kite Runner", which introduced Afghanistan to many foreign readers, called Trump's remarks "reckless, appalling".
Others said the government had no effect recourse, pointing to its dependence on billions of dollars of aid from the United States every year.
"Those who feed you also command you," one commenter, Yazdan Hatami, wrote on Facebook.
Looking to soothe sentiment, U.S. Special Envoy Zalmay Khalizad, the veteran Afghan-American diplomat who has been leading negotiations with the Taliban, said the comment showed that only a political settlement made sense.
Trump "reiterated to the world that there is no reasonable military solution to the war in Afghanistan, and that peace must be achieved through a political settlement," he wrote on Twitter. "Pakistan committed to do all it can to achieve peace."
(Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Robert Birsel)
PENSACOLA, Fla. (Reuters) - U.S. investigators face mounting pressure on Monday to deliver answers on the motive that led a Saudi Air Force lieutenant to shoot and kill three people and wounded eight others at a U.S. Navy base in Pensacola, Florida.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, speaking at a Sunday evening press conference, said he was sure the gunman carried out an act of terrorism. He questioned whether it could have been prevented by better vetting of foreign military officers who train in the United States.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian forces have entered Raqqa, the former de facto capital of the Islamic State caliphate, in one of the starkest examples yet of how Moscow has filled the vacuum created by President Donald Trump's decision to pull U.S. forces from northern Syria.
The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.
"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.
WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing "everything" if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the North said it had carried out a "successful test of great significance."
"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.
"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.
The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.
Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.