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General Milley Tells US Congressional Panel No Evidence of Russian Bounties in Afghanistan

© AP Photo / Aaron FavilaU.S. soldiers patrol the perimeter of a weapons cache four miles of the US military base in Bagram, Afghanistan (File)
U.S. soldiers patrol the perimeter of a weapons cache four miles of the US military base in Bagram, Afghanistan (File) - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States has no direct evidence of the alleged Russian bounties offered to Taliban* militants to kill US soldiers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said in congressional testimony.
“If, in fact, these bounties [were] directed by the government of Russia or any other institution to kill American soldiers - that is a big deal”, Milley told the US House Armed Services Committee on Thursday. “We do not have this level of fidelity yet. We are still looking”.

Last month, US corporate-owned media reported citing unnamed US intelligence officials that Russia provide bounties to Taliban-linked extremists to assassinate US and coalition troops in Afghanistan. President Donald Trump called the article a hoax while White House officials and senior US military leaders publicly said the intelligence was not verified and is convincing.

Milley urged the congressmen on the panel to understand the big difference between “arming and directing”.

“We know about arms, weapons, we know about support”, Milley said. “In the case of the Russians, we do not have concrete collaborating intelligence evidence to show directing. That is a big difference”.

Milley said the US Defence Department has been aware of Russia’s involvement in Afghanistan, but noted that other countries, including Iran, Pakistan, and China, also have engaged in that country.

Russian officials have denied the allegations as untrue and characterized them as being part of the internal political infighting in the United States.

*Taliban is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other states

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