Russian intelligence officials have offered cash rewards to Taliban fighters for killing US and British troops in Afghanistan, the source said.

Russian intelligence officials have offered cash rewards to Taliban fighters for killing US and British troops in Afghanistan, the source said.

The official was not clear on the exact Russian motive, but said the motives, in their estimation, led to the loss of the coalition. The official did not specify the date of the accidents, their number or nationality or whether they were deaths or injuries.

“This ugly approach by the GRU is astonishing and reprehensible. Their motives are confusing,” the official said.

U.S. intelligence concluded that Russian military intelligence had offered the money in the middle of a peace talks, the New York Times reported on Friday.

Citing officials, the Times reported that President Donald Trump had been briefed on the findings and that the White House National Security Council had met at the end of March.

White House spokesman Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement Saturday that President and Vice President Mike Pence had not been notified “of the alleged Russian intelligence.”

McEnany said her statement “does not speak to the value of the alleged intelligence but to the inaccuracy of the New York Times story,” according to which Trump was informed.

McEnany has not denied reports that a Russian intelligence unit provided money to Taliban fighters to carry out attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan.

National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe said in a statement late Saturday that he had “confirmed that neither the President nor the Vice President had been informed of any information claimed by the New York Times in its report yesterday.”

He added: “The White House’s statement on this issue earlier today, which denied such information, was accurate. The reports of the New York Times and all other subsequent reports of such alleged information are inaccurate.”

CNN contacted the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for further comment. CNN has also contacted the Department of Defense, the State Department and the CIA and has not commented.

According to the Times, the Trump administration made extensive updates on the assessment of information this week and shared information about it with the British government, whose forces are also believed to have been targeted.

The newspaper said officials had thought of possible answers, including the launch of a diplomatic complaint in Moscow, a request for cessation and sanctions – but the White House has not yet approved any action.

The Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, on Friday denounced the Times report as “unfounded allegations” that have led to death threats against Russian diplomats in Washington and London.

“In the absence of words for #BlameRussians, the Times is inventing ‘new fake stories,'” the embassy wrote. Twitter.

The Taliban also rejected the Times report that they had been offered money from Russia to target US troops in Afghanistan.

“We strongly reject this claim. The nineteen-year jihad of the Islamic Emirate is not a debt for the benefit of any intelligence agency or foreign country, nor does the Islamic Emirate need anyone to set goals,” said Zabihullah, a spokesman for the militant group Zabihullah. he said in a statement on Saturday.

In its covert operation, Russia’s spy unit within the GRU intelligence service had offered rewards for successful attacks last year, and Islamist militants, or armed criminal accomplices, are believed to have collected money, the Times reported.

A European intelligence official told CNN that Russian intelligence officers worked for the GRU unit, known as 29155, which had previously been accused by European intelligence officials of plotting to assassinate Sergei Skripal, a former KGB agent who had been recruited for years. information, and his daughter in 2018 in Salisbury, UK and other major attacks in Europe.

The United States has concluded that the GRU was behind the interference in the 2016 US election and the cyber-attacks against the Democratic National Commission and top Democratic officials. Russia’s military has also been accused by the West of plotting to assassinate and poisoning Europe in recent years.

The Times reported that the motives behind the operation were unclear and there was uncertainty about how far the Kremlin was allowed to operate.

According to the newspaper, the US intelligence assessment was based in part on interrogations of arrested Afghan fighters and criminals.

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday described Trump’s presidency as a “gift” to Putin, referring to a New York Times report on a town hall that focused on Asian American Pacific issues. “It’s a betrayal of any American family with a loved one serving in Afghanistan or anywhere abroad. I’m genuinely outraged by the report, and if I am elected president, make no mistake about it, Vladimir Putin will be confronted.”

New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, on Saturday he asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will pass legislation that would impose sanctions on Russia for voting upstairs.

Texas spokesman Michael McAul, a former Republican foreign affairs secretary, said in a statement Saturday that he had “reached the administration immediately”, adding that if the allegations in the New York Times report were true, the administration should take quick action. and take serious action to hold Putin accountable. “

Republican spokesman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, a veteran of the Air Force serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, tweeted that “Russia is not a partner and should not negotiate” and that Trump “must immediately expose it and handle it and stop Russia’s shadow war.”
Trump seeks to improve relations between Washington and Moscow and shares an unusually warm relationship with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

But Trump and his government are pointing to US sanctions on Russia, arguing that they are tougher on the country than previous presidents.

During a 2018 press conference with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, Trump, in a stunning move for an American president, refused to accept US information that Russia had interfered in the 2016 presidential election, instead of appearing to be aligned. with Putin’s denials.
Last month, Trump said he wanted to invite Russia to the G7 summit, despite Russia’s suspension in 2014 by a working group of leading industrial nations to annex Crimea.
In February, the United States and the Taliban signed a historic agreement in Qatar’s Dohar, setting in motion a possible full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and a possible end to America’s long-running war.

US troops are currently serving in Afghanistan as part of a US-led NATO mission to train, assist and provide advice to Afghan forces and focus on counter-terrorism operations targeting local ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliates. .

The Trump administration is nearing the end of a decision to withdraw more than 4,000 troops from Afghanistan by the fall, according to two administration officials. The move will reduce the number of troops from 8,600 to 4,500 and will be the lowest number since the first days of the war in Afghanistan.

This story was updated with additional feedback, a statement from the White House press secretary, information from a European intelligence official and statement by the Director of National Intelligence.

KarenN’s Karen Smith, Sarah Mucha, Nicky Robertson and Jeremy Diamond contributed to this exhibition.

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