The White Home denied Saturday that President Donald Trump had been briefed on intelligence that reportedly confirmed Russia had provided bounties to Taliban-linked militants in the event that they killed US troopers in Afghanistan.
The rewards purportedly gave incentives to the guerrillas to focus on US forces, simply as Trump tries to withdraw troops — assembly one of many militants’ key calls for — and finish America’s longest struggle.
It was first reported by The New York Instances on Friday. The newspaper, citing nameless officers, stated that Trump was briefed on the findings in March, however has not determined the right way to reply.
Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany stated “neither the President nor the Vice President have been briefed on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence.”
However she added: “This doesn’t communicate to the advantage of the alleged intelligence however to the inaccuracy of The New York Instances story erroneously suggesting that President Trump was briefed on this matter.”
That left open the likelihood such intelligence does exist.
The Taliban have denied the report, reiterating that it was dedicated to an accord signed with Washington in February that paves the best way for withdrawing all international forces from Afghanistan by subsequent 12 months.
The militants additionally stated selfmade explosives account for many fatalities amongst US forces.
“The 19-year jihad of the Islamic Emirate will not be indebted to the beneficence of any intelligence organ or international nation,” the Taliban stated in an announcement issued in Kabul.
The group, extensively believed to have obtained years of help from Pakistani intelligence, additionally denied earlier US accusations it was given arms by Russia.
“The Islamic Emirate has made use of weapons, services and instruments … that have been already current in Afghanistan or are struggle spoils continuously seized from the opposition in battles,” it stated.
Russia has additionally denounced the report, with its embassy in Washington tweeting that the “baseless and nameless accusations” within the Instances story had “already led to direct threats to the lifetime of workers” at its embassies in Washington and London.
“Cease producing #fakenews that provoke life threats, @nytimes,” it added in a later tweet.
Russia has a tortured historical past in Afghanistan, the place the previous Soviet Union in its last years was slowed down in a devastating combat in opposition to Islamist guerrillas, then backed by Washington.
The New York Instances stated there have been completely different theories on why Russia would help Taliban assaults, together with a need to maintain Washington slowed down in struggle.
It stated that the Russian unit may additionally be looking for revenge over the US killing of Russian mercenaries in Syria, the place Moscow backs President Bashar al-Assad.
In accordance with the newspaper, the Taliban operation was led by a unit generally known as the G.R.U., which has been blamed in quite a few worldwide incidents together with a 2018 chemical weapons assault in Britain that just about killed Russian-born double agent Sergei Skripal.
(Aside from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)