In late June, The New York Times claimed, citing unnamed intelligence sources, that Russia could have paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants to assassinate US troops in Afghanistan. The publication added that President Donald Trump had been presented with an intelligence report on the issue.
Trump called the article another attempt at a Russia hoax to make Republicans look bad in an election year, while the allegations were denied by the White House, the Pentagon, and the NSA, as well as by the Taliban itself. The group stated that its actions are not related to foreign intelligence agencies or governments, dubbing the allegations an attempt to obstruct the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.
Russian officials have denied the allegations as false and characterised them as being part of the internal political infighting in the United States.
Unnamed US officials told the New York Times on Friday that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a vague warning to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last month that Russia should refrain from offering bounties to Taliban fighters to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan, as the Times has claimed was happening.
US President Donald Trump refused to answer a reporter's question on Monday about disputed reports that Russian agents had paid bounties to Taliban fighters to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan.
On Thursday, General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the US House Armed Services Committee that there is no proof of the New York Times story that Russia offered bounties to Taliban* militants to kill American soldiers.
Last week, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Zamir Kabulov stated that there is no proof concerning claims about Moscow's alleged collusion with the Taliban*, and that there are only groundless accusations against the country on the matter.
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.
The New York Times' story citing 'anonymous intelligence' on alleged Russian cash rewards to Taliban*-linked militants for the killing of US and coalition troops in Afghanistan sparked a major scandal in Washington, prompting denials from the White House, Moscow and the Taliban itself, and demands by Democrats for new sanctions against Russia.
The New York Times newspaper published an article in late June citing unnamed intelligence officials as saying the US President had been presented with an intelligence report claiming Russia could have paid bounties to Taliban*-linked militants to assassinate US troops in Afghanistan.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Central Command Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie is not convinced that American intelligence assessments support allegations that Russia offered bounties to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan, according to media reports.
In late June, anonymous intelligence sources told The New York Times that Russia had been offering Taliban fighters cash rewards for killing US and coalition troops in Afghanistan, and alleged that President Trump was informed about it but did nothing. Trump, Moscow, and the Taliban itself have all dismissed the allegations.
US President Donald Trump slammed what he branded "the discredited @nytimes" on 1 July over a story published the previous week about Russia allegedly paying Taliban-affiliated militants to kill US and other coalition troops serving in Afghanistan, reiterating he had not been briefed on whatever information agencies may have had on the issue.
The New York Times report claiming that President Trump saw a piece of intel saying Russia paid Taliban to attack American soldiers, was repeatedly denied by Washington, Moscow, and US intelligence community members. However, the story is still being treated as factual information by the US media and Trump's opponents alike.
A New York Times report claiming American intelligence agencies had information about Russia paying the Taliban for attacks on US forces has been denied by both countries’ governments, as well as by the American intelligence community itself. Despite this, the NYT has continued to publish articles based on the report, which is deemed fraudulent.
The "Russian bounty" story continues to grow despite being supported by only a handful of unnamed sources and no credible evidence to back the claims. International observers have commented on the recent developments, with many suggesting that mainstream media in the US keeps disgracing itself.
It’s not the first time the NSA has dissented from its espionage brethren – for instance, its conclusions differed from that of the CIA and FBI on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Both had “high confidence” Kremlin-directed subterfuge had taken place, but the NSA wasn’t so sure.
The explosive reports on "Russian bounties" offered to Taliban-linked militants to kill US soldiers are slowly turning into some kind of a saga, as now US media has offered new "details" on the claims.
Earlier, Democratic Senator Bob Menendez formally requested new sanctions be imposed on top Russian officials, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, over unconfirmed allegations that Russia offered reward money to Taliban-linked militants to assassinate US soldiers.
US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he was never briefed on claims published by the New York Times about bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan given to the Taliban by Russian intelligence agents because US intelligence agencies don't believe it ever happened.
The "Afghanistan bounties" narrative propelled by the US mainstream media has all the earmarks of a hoax, say international observers, explaining who actually stands to benefit from unverified reports allegedly leaked by an anonymous intelligence official.
Senior Democratic leaders accused President Trump of "kissing up" to Russia and failing to act in the wake of Friday's story in the New York Times about an alleged Russian plot to pay Taliban militants bounties for the killing of US troops in Afghanistan. Moscow has denied the claims and blasted the paper over its evidence-free reporting.
Democrats have asked Congress to consider new sanctions against Moscow over media claims that Russia has been paying Taliban-affiliated militants to kill American and other coalition troops serving in Afghanistan. Russian officials have vocally denied the allegations, and accused those pushing them of trying to further undermine Russia-US ties.