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Russia reportedly paid Taliban-linked militants bounty money to kill American troops


Vladimir Putin

US intelligence officials assessed that Russia’s military intelligence agency offered bounties to kill NATO troops in Afghanistan — which include American forces, according to a New York Times report.
Interrogations of Afghan militants and criminals reportedly yielded the information indicating that Taliban-linked militants were offered bounties from Russian agents, specifically Unit 29155, a branch of Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency.
One theory floated by some of the officials purports that Moscow may have been firing back at what was an embarrassing defeat during a battle in Syria in 2018.
President Donald Trump was reportedly briefed of the intelligence assessment but the White House had yet to respond to it, The Times’s sources said.
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US intelligence officials have assessed that Russia’s military intelligence agency paid bounties to kill NATO troops in Afghanistan — which include American forces, according to a New York Times report on Friday.

US officials reportedly discovered information about the bounties earlier this year. Some of the bounty money was collected by either Islamist militants or those associated with them, The Times reported.

In 2019, 17 US troops were killed in combat in Afghanistan, according to the Defense Department.

Interrogations of Afghan militants and criminals reportedly yielded the information indicating that Taliban-linked militants were offered bounties from Russian forces. The intelligence officials believe the bounties involve Unit 29155, a branch of Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency.

Unit 29155, which is reportedly comprised of former Russian special forces troops, has been blamed for the series of assassination attempts throughout Europe, including the poisoning of Russian defector Sergei Skripal in 2018.

One theory floated by some of the officials purports that Moscow may have been firing back at what was an embarrassing defeat during a battle in Syria in 2018. Around 200 to 300 mercenaries from a Russia-linked security firm were killed during a four-hour battle at a military base that housed US-led coalition forces.

It was unclear whether the Kremlin officially sanctioned the alleged campaign. Russian officials claimed it was not aware of the allegations, according to The Times.

President Donald Trump was reportedly briefed of the intelligence assessment but the White House had yet to respond to it, The Times’s sources said. The National Security Council had reportedly developed plans to address the report as early as March — plans that included making diplomatic complaints or sanctions.

US forces have previously accused Russia of providing material aid to the Taliban and subverting the US’s efforts to stabilize the region: “Clearly, they are acting to undermine our interests,” then-US commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, said in 2018.

“We’ve had weapons brought to this headquarters and given to us by Afghan leaders and [they] said, this was given by the Russians to the Taliban,” he added.

The Trump administration, in comparison, has threatened Iran with massive retaliation for a single American’s death and accused Iran of complicity in the deaths of 600 US troops in Iraq.

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Source:: Business Insider

      

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