WH Has Yet To Respond After Learning Of Russian Bounties For Killing US Troops
According to The New York Times, American intelligence officials “have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter.”
- The US concluded months ago that the Russian unit had “covertly offered rewards for successful attacks last year,” The Times reported. “Twenty Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2019, but it was not clear which killings were under suspicion.”
- According to The Times’ sources, “the intelligence assessment is said to be based at least in part on interrogations of captured Afghan militants and criminals.”
- The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and in March, the White House’s National Security Council officials “developed a menu of potential options — starting with making a diplomatic complaint to Moscow and a demand that it stop, along with an escalating series of sanctions and other possible responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step, the officials said.”
- These officials familiar with the intelligence did not explain the reason for the administration’s delay in responding.
- “The revelations came into focus inside the Trump administration at a delicate and distracted time,” with the nationwide outbreak of COVID-19 and Trump’s re-election campaign.
- The disclosure of intelligence “comes at a time when Mr. Trump has said he would invite Mr. Putin to an expanded meeting of the Group of 7 nations, but tensions between American and Russian militaries are running high,” the report continued.
“In several recent episodes, in international territory and airspace from off the coast of Alaska to the Black and Mediterranean Seas, combat planes from each country have scrambled to intercept military aircraft from the other,” The Times wrote.