US has ‘low to reasonable confidence’ in stories of Russian bounties on US troops

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{Photograph}: Bob Robust / Reuters

US intelligence businesses have solely “low to reasonable confidence” in final yr’s stories that Russian spies have been providing Taliban militants in Afghanistan bounties for killing US troopers.

Reviews within the press citing intelligence sources aroused indignation and Democrats’ calls for for the Trump administration to confront the Kremlin on the problem.

Unveiling of a series of sanctions against Russia on ThursdayUS officers mentioned the Russian bonus allegations weren’t one of many grounds for imposing the measures, however a warning had been despatched to Moscow that there could be a punitive response if such incentives have been paid to the long run.

Associated: Biden hits Russia with new sanctions in response to election interference

US intelligence had “low to reasonable confidence” within the bonus stories as a result of “they’re primarily based partially on detainee stories and due to the troublesome working surroundings in Afghanistan,” a senior official mentioned. accountable for administration to journalists.

“There’s an evaluation that Russian intelligence officers have sought to encourage Taliban assaults on US and coalition personnel, together with via monetary incentives and compensation,” the official added. “However as a result of low to reasonable component of confidence, our aim is to ship a transparent message to Russia about what steps the USA would soak up response to such conduct if it have been to proceed.”

the New York Times reported final June, the intelligence evaluation of Russian bounties in Afghanistan was introduced to Trump and mentioned within the Nationwide Safety Council in March 2020. White Home officers reportedly developed retaliatory choices in opposition to the Kremlin, however no motion has not been taken.

The report on the time mentioned it was not clear whether or not such bonuses had really been paid to the Taliban, however the stories strengthened widespread suspicion about Trump’s motives, primarily based on the previous’s continued reluctance. president to publicly criticize Vladimir Putin.

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, who was the Democratic operating mate in 2016, mentioned in June: “Trump was getting near Putin and welcoming him to the G7 as his administration knew Russia was making an attempt to kill the troops People in Afghanistan and derail peace talks with the Taliban.

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