Russia paid the Taliban bounties to kill US troops
Published: 03:07 PM, 27 June 2020 Updated: 03:08 PM, 27 June 2020
A Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan - including targeting American troops, claimed the American intelligence officials.
US-based media New York Times on Friday reported that the United States concluded months ago that the Russian unit, which has been linked to assassination attempts and other covert operations in Europe intended to destabilize the West or take revenge on turncoats, had covertly offered rewards for successful attacks last year.
Militants, or armed criminal elements closely associated with them, are believed to have collected some bounty money, the officials said.
Citing the officials, The New York Times also reported that the intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March.
Officials developed a menu of potential options - starting with making a diplomatic complaint to Moscow and a demand that it stop, along with an escalating series of sanctions and other possible responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step, the officials said.
At least 20 Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2019, but it was not clear which killings were under suspicion.