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Russia gave incentives to Taliban militants as rewards for attacking US,UK troops

A European intelligence officer told CNN that Russian intelligence officers for the military intelligence (GRU) recently offered money to Taliban militants in Afghanistan as rewards if they killed US or UK troops there, amid peace talks.

The recovery of a large amount of American cash from a raid on a Taliban outpost prompted suspicions and interrogations of captured militants and criminals played a central role in making the intelligence community confident in its assessment that the Russians had offered and paid bounties in 2019.

The official was unclear as to: the motive behind the attacks,when they happened,the nationality of the casualties or whether these were fatalities or injuries, but said the incentives had, in their assessment, led to coalition casualties.

According to the Times,who first broke the news, American intelligence officials told the president about the findings in March and offered a number of options for reprimanding Russia, including escalating sanctions or issuing diplomatic complaints.

However,Trump has denied ever being briefed about the issue.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also issued a statement Saturday saying that the president and Vice President,Mike Pence, did not receive a briefing but that “does not speak to the merit of the alleged intelligence but to the inaccuracy of the New York Times story, which said Trump had been briefed.”

The Russian embassy and the Taliban have also denied the Times report.

Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, in his own statement late Saturday confirmed that neither the President nor the Vice President were ever briefed on any intelligence alleged by the New York Times in its reporting.
He added: “The White House statement addressing this issue earlier today, which denied such a briefing occurred, was accurate. The New York Times reporting, and all other subsequent news reports about such an alleged briefing are inaccurate.”
About the peace talks
In February, the US and Taliban signed a historic agreement in Dohar, Qatar,initiating the possible withdrawal of US troops–which are currently serving in Afghanistan as part of a US-led NATO mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces and focus on counter-terrorism operations targeting the local ISIS affiliate and al Qaeda–from Afghanistan and potential end to America’s longest-fought war.
The Trump administration is close to finalizing a decision to withdraw more than 4,000 troops from Afghanistan by the fall, a move which would reduce the number of troops from 8,600 to 4,500.
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