Tags: russia | afghanistan | taliban | bounty

Report: Russian Intelligence Paid Bounties to Kill US Troops in Afghanistan

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View of the Moscow Kremlin and the Moskva River from the Bolshoi Kamenny Bridge. (Photo by Alexander Vilf - Host Photo Agency via Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 26 June 2020 07:13 PM

Russia’s military intelligence agency has paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants who killed NATO troops in Afghanistan, including Americans, U.S. intelligence officials have determined, The New York Times reported Friday.

The information was gathered earlier this year from interrogations of Afghan militants and criminals, the Times said. Seventeen American soldiers were killed in combat in Afghanistan last year, the U.S. Department of Defense said.

The interviews uncovered that money was offered to Taliban-tied militants by Russian forces, believed by U.S. intelligence to involve Unit 29155, a branch of Russia's GRU military intelligence agency.

The unit reportedly is comprised of Russian special forces operatives who have been blamed for a series of assassination attempts in Europe, including the poisoning of Russian defector Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain in 2018.

According to the Times, intelligence officials believe the bounties could be retribution for a gun battle in Syria in 2018 in which 200-300 mercenaries from a Russia-tied security firm were killed in a four-hour firefight at a base that housed U.S.-led troops.

The Times said it was not clear if the Kremlin officially authorized the payments. Russian officials contacted by the Times claimed no knowledge of the operation.

President Donald Trump has been notified of the report, Times sources said. The National Security Council supposedly developed a response as early as March, including official complaints and sanctions.

The U.S. military has previously accused Russia of supporting the Taliban with weapons and other aid, Business Insider said.

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Russia's military intelligence agency has paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants who killed NATO troops in Afghanistan, including Americans...
russia, afghanistan, taliban, bounty
246
2020-13-26
Friday, 26 June 2020 07:13 PM
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