Russia Paid Taliban-linked Militants To Kill US Soldiers ― Report
US intelligence has concluded that a Russian unit offered rewards to Taliban-linked militants to kill troops of the US-led coalition in Afghanistan, The New York Times reported Friday.(Wapbaze_Copyright)
The purported bounties gave incentives to the guerrillas to target US forces, just as President Donald Trump tries to withdraw troops and end America’s longest war.(Wapbaze_Copyright)
The newspaper, citing anonymous officials, said that Trump was briefed on the findings in March, but has not decided how to respond.(Wapbaze_Copyright)
It said that militants were believed to have collected bounty money, but that it was unclear whether specific killings of US troops were under suspicion.(Wapbaze_Copyright)
The newspaper quoted a Kremlin spokesman saying only that Russia was unaware of the accusations.(Wapbaze_Copyright)
Russia has a tortured history in Afghanistan, where the former Soviet Union in its final years was bogged down in a devastating fight against Islamic guerrillas, then backed by Washington.(Wapbaze_Copyright)
But Russia has more recently been accused by the United States of quietly providing small arms to the Taliban.(Wapbaze_Copyright)
The New York Times said there were different theories on why Russia would support Taliban attacks, including a desire to keep the United States bogged down in war.(Wapbaze_Copyright)
It said that the Russian unit may also be seeking revenge over the US killing of Russian mercenaries in Syria, where Moscow backs President Bashar al-Assad.(Wapbaze_Copyright)
According to the newspaper, the Taliban operation was led by a unit known as the G.R.U., which has been blamed in numerous international incidents including a 2018 chemical weapons attack in Britain that nearly killed Russian-born double agent Sergei Skripal.(Wapbaze_Copyright)
US intelligence concluded that Russia intervened in the 2016 presidential election in a bid to assist Trump, including through manipulation of social media.(Wapbaze_Copyright)
Trump has scoffed at the findings and sought a warmer relationship with President Vladimir Putin, even as his administration keeps imposing sanctions over Russia over its actions on Ukraine.
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