Russia paid Taliban bounties for American troops in Afghanistan

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Here4money, Jun 26, 2020.

  1. Here4money


    yeah, yeah, fake news, TDS
    inb4 muh Benghazi,
    inb4 muh Fast and Furious

    Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says
    The Trump administration has been deliberating for months about what to do about a stunning intelligence assessment.

    WASHINGTON — American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter.

    The United States concluded months ago that the Russian unit, which has been linked to assassination attempts and other covert operations in Europe intended to destabilize the West or take revenge on turncoats, had covertly offered rewards for successful attacks last year.

    Islamist militants, or armed criminal elements closely associated with them, are believed to have collected some bounty money, the officials said. Twenty Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2019, but it was not clear which killings were under suspicion.

    The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March, the officials said. Officials developed a menu of potential options — starting with making a diplomatic complaint to Moscow and a demand that it stop, along with an escalating series of sanctions and other possible responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step, the officials said.

    An operation to incentivize the killing of American and other NATO troops would be a significant and provocative escalation of what American and Afghan officials have said is Russian support for the Taliban, and it would be the first time the Russian spy unit was known to have orchestrated attacks on Western troops.

    Any involvement with the Taliban that resulted in the deaths of American troops would also be a huge escalation of Russia’s so-called hybrid war against the United States, a strategy of destabilizing adversaries through a combination of such tactics as cyberattacks, the spread of fake news and covert and deniable military operations.

    The Kremlin had not been made aware of the accusations, said Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. “If someone makes them, we’ll respond,” Mr. Peskov said. A Taliban spokesman did not respond to messages seeking comment.

    Spokespeople at the National Security Council, the Pentagon, the State Department and the C.I.A. declined to comment.

    The officials familiar with the intelligence did not explain the White House delay in deciding how to respond to the intelligence about Russia.

    While some of his closest advisers, like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have counseled more hawkish policies toward Russia, Mr. Trump has adopted an accommodating stance toward Moscow.

    At a summit in 2018 in Helsinki, Finland, Mr. Trump strongly suggested that he believed Mr. Putin’s denial that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 presidential election, despite broad agreement within the American intelligence establishment that it did. Mr. Trump criticized a bill imposing sanctions on Russia when he signed it into law after Congress passed it by veto-proof majorities. And he has repeatedly made statements that undermined the NATO alliance as a bulwark against Russian aggression in Europe.

    The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the delicate intelligence and internal deliberations. They said the intelligence had been treated as a closely held secret, but the administration expanded briefings about it this week — including sharing information about it with the British government, whose forces are among those said to have been targeted.

    The intelligence assessment is said to be based at least in part on interrogations of captured Afghan militants and criminals. The officials did not describe the mechanics of the Russian operation, such as how targets were picked or how money changed hands. It is also not clear whether Russian operatives had deployed inside Afghanistan or met with their Taliban counterparts elsewhere.

    The revelations came into focus inside the Trump administration at a delicate and distracted time. Although officials collected the intelligence earlier in the year, the interagency meeting at the White House took place as the coronavirus pandemic was becoming a crisis and parts of the country were shutting down.

    Moreover, as Mr. Trump seeks re-election in November, he wants to strike a peace deal with the Taliban to end the Afghanistan war.

    Both American and Afghan officials have previously accused Russia of providing small arms and other support to the Taliban that amounts to destabilizing activity, although Russian government officials have dismissed such claims as “idle gossip” and baseless.

    “We share some interests with Russia in Afghanistan, and clearly they’re acting to undermine our interests as well,” Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., the commander of American forces in Afghanistan at the time, said in a 2018 interview with the BBC.

    Though coalition troops suffered a spate of combat casualties last summer and early fall, only a few have since been killed. Four Americans were killed in combat in early 2020, but the Taliban have not attacked American positions since a February agreement.

    American troops have also sharply reduced their movement outside military bases because of the coronavirus, reducing their exposure to attack.

    While officials were said to be confident about the intelligence that Russian operatives offered and paid bounties to Afghan militants for killing Americans, they have greater uncertainty about how high in the Russian government the covert operation was authorized and what its aim may be.

    Some officials have theorized that the Russians may be seeking revenge on NATO forces for a 2018 battle in Syria in which the American military killed several hundred pro-Syrian forces, including numerous Russian mercenaries, as they advanced on an American outpost. Officials have also suggested that the Russians may have been trying to derail peace talks to keep the United States bogged down in Afghanistan. But the motivation remains murky.

    The officials briefed on the matter said the government had assessed the operation to be the handiwork of Unit 29155, an arm of Russia’s military intelligence agency, known widely as the G.R.U. The unit is linked to the March 2018 nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury, England, of Sergei Skripal, a former G.R.U. officer who had worked for British intelligence and then defected, and his daughter.

    Western intelligence officials say the unit, which has operated for more than a decade, has been charged by the Kremlin with carrying out a campaign to destabilize the West through subversion, sabotage and assassination. In addition to the 2018 poisoning, the unit was behind an attempted coup in Montenegro in 2016 and the poisoning of an arms manufacturer in Bulgaria a year earlier.

    American intelligence officials say the G.R.U. was at the center of Moscow’s covert efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. In the months before that election, American officials say, two G.R.U. cyberunits, known as 26165 and 74455, hacked into Democratic Party servers and then used WikiLeaks to publish embarrassing internal communications.

    In part because those efforts were aimed at helping tilt the election in Mr. Trump’s favor, his handling of issues related to Russia and Mr. Putin has come under particular scrutiny. The special counsel investigation found that the Trump campaign welcomed Russia’s intervention and expected to benefit from it, but found insufficient evidence to establish that his associates had engaged in any criminal conspiracy with Moscow.

    Operations involving Unit 29155 tend to be much more violent than those involving the cyberunits. Its officers are often decorated military veterans with years of service, in some cases dating to the Soviet Union’s failed war in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Never before has the unit been accused of orchestrating attacks on Western soldiers, but officials briefed on its operations say it has been active in Afghanistan for many years.

    Though Russia declared the Taliban a terrorist organization in 2003, relations between them have been warming in recent years. Taliban officials have traveled to Moscow for peace talks with other prominent Afghans, including the former president, Hamid Karzai. The talks have excluded representatives from the current Afghan government as well as anyone from the United States, and at times they have seemed to work at crosscurrents with American efforts to bring an end to the conflict.

    The disclosure comes at a time when Mr. Trump has said he would invite Mr. Putin to an expanded meeting of the Group of 7 nations, but tensions between American and Russian militaries are running high.

    In several recent episodes, in international territory and airspace from off the coast of Alaska to the Black and Mediterranean Seas, combat planes from each country have scrambled to intercept military aircraft from the other.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2020
  2. Here4money


    Russian Spy Unit Paid Taliban to Attack Americans, U.S. Intelligence Says
    Bounties paid by GRU are disclosed as U.S. plans troops drawdown, Taliban peace plan

    WASHINGTON—A Russian spy unit paid members of Afghanistan’s Taliban movement to conduct lethal attacks on U.S. troops in that country, according to a classified American intelligence assessment, people familiar with the report said.

    The assessment of the role played by Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, in fostering attacks on American soldiers, comes as President Trump is pushing the Pentagon to withdraw a significant portion of U.S. forces from Afghanistan and as U.S. diplomats try to forge a peace accord involving...

  3. Here4Corpses is self-stimulating over dead Americans as usual.

    It's what he does.
    smallfil and elderado like this.
  4. exGOPer


    Suddenly right wingers don't care about the troops, imagine this happening under a Democrat where no counter measures were taken.
    Bugenhagen and Ricter like this.
  5. Here4money


    Cons always project, they're currently channeling their inner cuck.
    Ricter likes this.
  6. Tsing Tao

    Tsing Tao

    "according to officials briefed on the matter."

    Ah, this again. That's the source.

    First, New York Times, lol

    Second, you can always tell when the NYT is taking additional steps to make up something, because they make sure the article isn't behind a paywall and is readily accessible to everyone (for maximum effect).
    smallfil likes this.
  7. Here4money


  8. Here4money

    Trump, Most Republicans Silent About Reports Russia Paid Taliban To Kill U.S. Troops

    As of Saturday,the White House and most Republicans had yet to comment on Friday’s bombshell report in the New York Times that a Russian military intelligence unit offered bounties to militants in Afghanistan to kill U.S. soldiers, even as Democrats sharply criticized the Trump administration for failing to respond.

  9. vanzandt


    I guess that's why the world doesn't have "Forbes Terminals".
    3 hours earlier........ :


    White House Denies Trump Briefed on Russia’s ‘Bounty’ Plan

    Jennifer Epstein
    Ben Brody
    June 27, 2020, 4:46 PM EDT Updated on June 27, 2020, 6:53 PM EDT
    • Russia reportedly paid to target U.S. troops in Afghanistan
    • Biden criticized Trump, Russia’s Putin at campaign event
    President Donald Trump

    The White House denied reports that President Donald Trump had been briefed by intelligence officials about, but had done nothing to respond to, an effort by Russian President Vladimir Putin to put bounties on U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan.

    The statement, released Saturday evening, came shortly after Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden slammed Trump for the alleged inaction, which was first detailed in a New York Times report on Friday.

    “While the White House does not routinely comment on alleged intelligence or internal deliberations, the CIA Director, National Security Adviser, and the Chief of Staff can all confirm that neither the President nor the Vice President were briefed on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.

    McEnany said she wasn’t commenting on the “merit of the alleged intelligence” on Russia’s moves, major elements of which were also reported by the Washington Post.

    Russian military intelligence units offered the bounties to Afghan militants to kill U.S. and U.K. troops, according to the New York Times, which said that Trump had been briefed and the administration had spent months considering a response but had made no final decisions.

    Biden pounced on the topic during an Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote virtual town hall meeting.

    ‘Debasing Himself’
    “Donald Trump has continued his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin,” the former vice president said on Saturday. “He had has this information, according to the [New York] Times, and yet he offered to host Putin in the United States and sought to invite Russia to rejoin the G7.”

    Biden, Trump’s rival in the November election, also went after Russia’s leader, saying “there is no bottom to the depth of Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin’s depravity.”

    If the Times report is accurate, Trump’s reaction amounts to “worse than nothing,” Biden added. Trump has sought friendly relations with Putin, who made efforts to boost him in the 2016 election.

    “His entire presidency has been a gift to Putin, but this is beyond the pale,” Biden said. “It’s a betrayal of the most sacred duty we bear as a nation -- protect and equip our troops when we go into harm’s way.”

    The “betrayal” applies to military families as well, said Biden, invoking his own experience as a father who sent his son Beau to Iraq a decade ago. “I’m disgusted on behalf of those families whose loved ones are serving today.”

    If he’s elected, Biden said, “Vladimir Putin will be confronted and we’ll impose serious costs on Russia.”

    Democratic lawmakers also criticized Trump about the report. “They put bounties on the heads of American soldiers and Trump thought the ‘ask them to stop’ option presented by his advisors was too harsh,” said Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

    A key Trump ally, Senator Lindsey Graham, said it was “imperative Congress get to the bottom of” the allegations about Russia. “I expect the Trump administration to take such allegations seriously and inform Congress immediately as to the reliability of these news reports,” the South Carolina Republican said on Twitter.
  10. Here4money


    White House issuing denial through McEneneeeey. Just like the perfect call, & Trump Tower meetings & a dozen other things that never happened until denials became untenable. Congress needs to drag Haspel's ass in for questioning

    Trump wasn't briefed on report Russia paid Taliban to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan, White House says

    While the White House does not routinely comment on 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,” McEnany said.
    #10     Jun 27, 2020