00:32 GMT05 August 2020
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    Earlier this month, the Taliban denied a New York Times report that Russian military intelligence offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing US soldiers in Afghanistan.

    Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen has reiterated the militant group's stance on its alleged collusion with Russia, which he said is nothing but "fake news".

    "The Russian bounties report is not true; it is a baseless allegation. We're fighting neither for anyone nor for money. Our people have their own ideology and they are fighting for that and sacrificing", Shaheen told RT on Sunday.

    Referring to a US-Taliban peace deal signed earlier this year in Doha, he suggested that the "politically motivated" report "has to do with spoilers of the peace process" related to the aforementioned agreement.

    Members of the Taliban handover their weapons and join in the Afghan government's reconciliation and reintegration program in Jalalabad, Afghanistan June 25, 2020.
    © REUTERS / Parwiz Parwiz
    Members of the Taliban handover their weapons and join in the Afghan government's reconciliation and reintegration program in Jalalabad, Afghanistan June 25, 2020.

    The goal is to "damage and harm this peace process", Shaheen underscored, slamming the opponents to the deal's "baseless thinking".

    The remarks followed Shaheen's previous rejection of The New York Times report about Russian military intelligence allegedly offering bounties to the Taliban for killing US servicemen in Afghanistan.

    "We're continuing our own investigation based on the information in the media. These accusations are false and groundless, and they were launched by an intelligence agency in Kabul to derail and postpone the peace process as well as the formation of a new government", he said in a statement earlier this month.

    Russia, which welcomes the Doha peace deal, and the Pentagon also denied the bounties claims, citing a lack of any proof pertaining to the allegations. The latter were even slammed by President Trump as a "fabricated hoax".

    The developments came after the US and the Taliban signed a long-awaited peace agreement in the Qatari capital of Doha in late February, a deal that envisages the timetable of the US withdrawing some of its 13,000 troops from Afghanistan.

    The agreement also stipulates the release of up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners and US cooperation with the new post-settlement Afghan Islamic government and Washington's non-interference in Kabul's internal affairs.

    In return, the Taliban is obliged to take steps to prevent terrorist groups, such as al-Qaeda*, from using Afghan soil to threaten the security of the US and its allies.


    *Taliban, al-Qaeda, terrorist groups banned in Russia and a number of other countries

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    Tags:
    peace process, negotiations, peace deal, Taliban, Afghanistan, United States
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