02:06 GMT15 April 2021
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    On Tuesday, CNN reported that a Taliban* offshoot may have received payments from Iran for at least six attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan last year.

    Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzade has rejected claims that Tehran offered bounties to Taliban militants in Afghanistan for targeting US troops.

    He denounced the allegations as part of the US propaganda to "cover up" Washington's miscalculations regarding Afghanistan.

    Khatibzade urged the US to "act responsibly" and end its "catastrophic presence" in the South Asian country, adding that the American government “has no response for the families of the soldiers killed in Afghanistan”.

    The official spoke after CNN cited unnamed intelligence sources as saying on Tuesday that the Haqqani Network led by Taliban deputy leader Sirajuddin Haqqani may have received payments from Iran for at least six attacks on coalition forces, including an assault on Bagram Air Base in December 2019.

    The 11 December attack killed two civilians and injured dozens of others, including four US military personnel.

    The CNN report was preceded by The New York Times quoting anonymous government sources as saying in June that US President Donald Trump was presented with an intelligence report alleging that Moscow may have offered bounties to the Taliban for the killing of US soldiers.

    POTUS denied ever being briefed on the matter, adding that Vice President Mike Pence and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows were also not given information about the allegations. Trump also slammed The New York Times for spreading what he described as fake news.

    The claims were also denied both by Moscow and the Taliban, with the Kremlin slamming the accusations as "nonsense" and the militant group dubbing them an attempt to obstruct the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

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

    The accord 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.

    US troops have been engaged in military operations in Afghanistan for 19 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but with little success, having failed to either defeat the Taliban or establish peace in the country by any other means.


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

    Related:

    US Lying About Moscow's Links to Taliban, Russian Foreign Ministry Says
    Taliban Believes US Can Pull Troops From Afghanistan by November Presidential Election
    Trump Seeks Afghan Exit, But Iran Crisis Makes Taliban Peace Deal Unlikely
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    report, militants, troops, Taliban, Iran, Afghanistan, US
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