"The United States receives thousands of intelligence reports a day and they are subject to strict scrutiny. While the White House does not routinely comment on alleged intelligence or internal deliberations, the CIA Director, National Security Advisor, and the Chief of Staff can all confirm that neither the President nor the Vice President were briefed on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence. This does not speak to the merit of the alleged intelligence but to the inaccuracy of the New York Times story erroneously suggesting that President Trump was briefed on this matter", White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a Saturday statement.
The Kremlin had not been made aware of the accusations, press secretary for Russian President Dmitry Peskov said on Saturday. “Nowadays, we tend to get amused at such publications”, he told reporters.
A representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that the reports were fake news that aimed to disrupt the Afghan peace process. According to the Russian diplomat, it has become a commonly known fact that the US intelligence community has established a whole network of alternative income sources while on service in Afghanistan, including drug trafficking, charging militants for passage of vehicle caravans, and kickbacks on military contracts paid for by the US taxpayers' money.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has refuted the reports, saying that these rumorus are being used in order to create obstacles to the US pullout from the country. The spokesman stressed that the Taliban's activities were not related to any intelligence body or foreign country.
On Friday, The New York Times published an article where it cited unnamed government sources as saying that Trump had been presented with an intelligence report that claimed that Moscow could have paid a bounty to armed Islamic insurgents in Afghanistan to assassinate US soldiers. The outlet said Trump had so far failed to act on the report.
In February, the US and the Taliban signed a peace deal that concluded rounds upon rounds of talks pursuing to launch the reconciliation process in Afghanistan after almost two decades of armed conflict and insurgency.
The agreement was intended to pave the way for the start of intra-Afghan talks and the eventual withdrawal of US troops from the country. Earlier this month, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said that the sides were closer to intra-Afghan talks than ever before and praised the Afghan government for releasing over 3,000 Taliban prisoners, and the Taliban for releasing over 500 government prisoners.
*Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia.