Pentagon Denies NYT Claim of Russian Bounty on US Soldiers in Afghanistan

  • Our Bureau
  • 04:43 AM, June 30, 2020
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Pentagon Denies NYT Claim of Russian Bounty on US Soldiers in Afghanistan
Infographic of US and Coalition deaths in Afghanistan @AlJazeera
The US Department of Defence (DoD) Has officially denied a New York Times (NYT) report that Russian intelligence offered bounty to the Taliban for killing US and coalition soldiers in Afghanistan.
Chief Pentagon Spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement Monday, "The Department of Defense continues to evaluate intelligence that Russian GRU operatives were engaged in malign activity against United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan. To date, DOD has no corroborating evidence to validate the recent allegations found in open-source reports. Regardless, we always take the safety and security of our forces in Afghanistan — and around the world — most seriously and therefore continuously adopt measures to prevent harm from potential threats."
The New York Times reported June 28, "the recovery of large amounts of American cash at a Taliban outpost in Afghanistan helped tip off U.S. officials. It is believed that at least one U.S. troop death was the result of the bounties."
After the story was  not confirmed by the White  House, it ran a subsequent article on Monday, "United States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan alerted their superiors as early as January to a suspected Russian plot to pay bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan, according to officials briefed on the matter."
On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said reports that Russia allegedly offered Afghan militants bounties for killing US military personnel as  "These claims are nothing but lies."  Russia has said the report would put the lives of  its diplomats in trouble.
Pentagon Denies NYT Claim of Russian Bounty on US Soldiers in Afghanistan
US patrol in Afghanistan shantytown @US DoD

According to US Central Command Combined Air Operations Center, US air force dropped a  7,423 bombs on Afghanistan - more than at any time in the last 10 years. More than 100,000 Afghans have been killed or wounded since 2009 when the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan began documenting casualties.

Rreports in Afghanistan Pashtu media said Monday that the bounty hunting allegation could be a ploy to scuttle the US-Taliban peace deal.

The peace agreement signed in February this year seeks a Taliban guarantee that it will not allow foreign armed groups to use Afghanistan as a launchpad to conduct attacks, the complete withdrawal of the US-led forces and an intra-Afghan dialogue and a ceasefire.

The Taliban had set the complete withdrawal of foreign troops as their main demand during the talks while the US insisted on a nationwide ceasefire.


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