On Thursday, the United States Air Force tried to be hip with the kids by name-dropping the latest viral meme in reference to a recent US air strike against Taliban forces.
“The Taliban Forces in Farah city #Afghanistan would much rather have heard #Yanny or #Laurel than the deafening #BRRRT they got courtesy of our #A10,” the official Twitter account for the U.S. Air Force tweeted early Thursday Morning.
The tweet has since been deleted, with the Air Force apologizing in vague terms Thursday afternoon.
The initial tweet was in reference to a Wednesday attack in Farah, a large city in the western province of the same name. On Tuesday, Taliban forces had invaded Farah, claiming to have captured the city, according to The New York Times:
A senior Afghan police official, reached by telephone inside Farah City, described the government’s situation as “out of control” and predicted the insurgents would renew their offensive under cover of dark, when air support was less effective against them.
On Wednesday, however, Afghan security forces and US air raids beat the Taliban back from the city’s center, effectively regaining control. But several days of clashes left 25 members of Afghan forces dead, as well as five civilians, and at least 300 Taliban fighters, according to Abdul Basir Salangi, governor of Farah province.
The “Yanny versus Laurel” meme is a viral audio clip that has divided the internet over the past week. Around 50 percent of listeners say they hear the word “Laurel” spoken over and over again, while the other half reportedly hear “Yanny.”
It’s intuitive that anyone would likely prefer to hear something other than the sound of impending mass destruction coming from the skies overhead. Given this conflict’s casualty count, the “Yanny versus Laurel” reference feels crass, to say the least.
Insurgents have continually attacked Farah province over the past several years, with an increased offensive occurring over the past several months. It’s resulted in the deaths of dozens of civilians and hundreds of Afghan forces over the past year, according to records at one hospital alone, says The Washington Post. Official casualty statistics have not been released by authorities.
In April, the Taliban announced a new round of insurgent attacks in Afghanistan, after rejecting peace talk requests from the Afghani government.
Editor’s Note: As of 1:47 p.m. Eastern, 5/17/2018, this story has been updated to reflect the deletion of the Air Force’s original tweet.