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.
Nobody briefed or told me, @VP Pence, or Chief of Staff @MarkMeadows about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians, as reported through an “anonymous source” by the Fake News @nytimes. Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 28, 2020
Baseless and anonymous accusations [published by @nytimes] of Moscow as mastermind behind killing of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan have already led to direct threats to the life of employees of the Russian Embassies in Washington D.C. and London.@StateDeptDSS https://t.co/oPoFZRvq3W pic.twitter.com/RMDVBXJynW
— Russia in USA 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbUSA) June 27, 2020