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September 12, 2019

Pak, India tension reduced during last two weeks: Trump

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September 12, 2019

WASHINGTON: The US President Donald Trump Monday said the conflict between Pakistan and India over Indian Occupied Kashmir (IHC) was “a little less heated” currently as compared to what it was two weeks ago. While speaking to the media before departing from the White House in Washington, DC, the US president reiterated his offer to help the two neighbouring countries to settle the dispute. “Pakistan and India are having a conflict over Kashmir as you know. I think it’s a little bit less heated right now than it was two weeks and I’m willing to help them,” Trump told a reporter.

“I get along with both countries very well. I’m willing to help them if they want, they know that is out there,” he continued. Meanwhile, Trump pledged to hit the Taliban “harder” than ever as America marked the 18th anniversary on Wednesday of the 9/11 attacks that led the country into war in Afghanistan.

Trump spoke after aborting what would have been a historic peace summit and as relatives remembered the victims of the single deadliest attack on US soil at ceremonies in New York and Washington.

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

He 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.” The nature of the offensive was not immediately clear but Trump said it was ordered after he cancelled peace talks with the Taliban over the weekend in retaliation for a bomb attack that killed one US soldier last week.

He also warned militants against ever carrying out an attack in the US again. “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.

“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 came as al-Qaeda, which carried out the attacks, released a video calling for assaults on American, European, Israeli and Russian interests.

The militant group's leader Ayman al-Zawahiri criticised “backtrackers” from jihad in the 33-minute video, according to Site Intelligence Group. Trump announced on Twitter on Saturday that he'd been about to meet leaders of the Taliban -- who harboured al Qaeda in Afghanistan -- on Sunday at his Camp David presidential retreat.

The announcement angered some, coming so close to the September 11, 2001 anniversary. Relatives of victims, survivors, police officers, firefighters and city leaders held a ceremony on Wednesday at Ground Zero where hijacked al-Qaeda planes brought down the Twin Towers.

They held poignant moments of silence at 8:46am (12:46 GMT) and 9:03am, the precise times that the passenger jets struck the North and South Towers. In what has become an annual tradition, relatives began reading out the long list of those who were killed, saying a few words about each victim, in a ceremony that took almost four hours.

Meanwhile, the US State Department designated 15 leaders, individuals and entities affiliated with terror groups. The US also identified the man as Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, the head of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and has targeted a wide array of groups, including entities affiliated with HAMAS, Daesh, al-Qaeda and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods-Force (IRGC-QF).

“Since the horrific attacks of 9/11, the US government has refocused its counterterrorism efforts to constantly adapt to emerging threats. President Trump’s modernised counterterrorism Executive Order enhances the authorities we use to target the finances of terror groups and their leaders to ensure they are as robust as possible,” US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said.

He added, “These new authorities will allow the US government to starve terrorists of resources they need to attack the United States and our allies and will hold foreign financial institutions who continue to do business with them accountable.”

“These new tools aid our unrelenting efforts to cut off terrorists from their sources of support and deprive them of the funds required to carry out their destructive activities. They serve as a powerful deterrent to radical terror groups and those seeking to aid their nefarious goals,” he added.

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