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U.S. Air Force Apologizes for Tweet Comparing Air Strikes to ‘Yanny’ and ‘Laurel’ Meme

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Updated: | Originally published: ;

The U.S. Air Force has removed a tweet that compared the viral Yanny/Laurel debate to the sound of U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan following criticism that it was inappropriate.

“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 U.S. Air Force Twitter account posted Thursday morning, with a link to an Air Force Times story about the airstrikes.

By Thursday afternoon, the tweet was replaced with an apology.

“We recognize the tweet was made in poor taste and it has been removed,” Ann Stefanek, spokesperson for the U.S. Air Force, told TIME.

The original tweet referred to an attack on Tuesday by Afghan and American air forces against Taliban insurgents who were trying to take over the city of Farah. U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II jets flew overhead as a show of force to warn Taliban forces, while MQ-9 Reaper drones conducted strikes, Military Times reported. Army Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell, a spokesperson for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, told Military Times that Afghan planes “conducted the majority of strikes.”

U.S. Air Force Twitter account

“The whole Farah city is cleared from the Taliban. Around 300 members of the Taliban were killed in the fighting. House-to-house searching for the Taliban and clearance operation is underway,” said Najib Danish, the spokesman for Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry, according to the New York Times.

The “#BRRT” in the deleted tweet likely refers to the sound made by the A-10 jet’s famous 30mm cannon.

Many politicians and brands have been quick to weigh in on the debate over the viral audio clip that says either “Yanny” or “Laurel,” depending on listeners’ cognition. But the Air Force tweet received criticism from some on social media who said it made light of military violence.

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Write to Katie Reilly at Katie.Reilly@time.com