A New York Times report last week claimed that Russia may have offered bounties to Afghan militants for killing US troops deployed to the Central Asian coutnry. Both Russia and the Taliban denied the accusations. The White House also insisted Trump wasn’t briefed on the matter.
The Pentagon has no evidence to back up allegations about the Russia-Taliban collusion, according to Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman.
“The Department of Defense continues to evaluate intelligence that Russian GRU operatives were engaged in malign activity against United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan,” Hoffman said in a statement.
“To date, DOD has no corroborating evidence to validate the recent allegations found in open-source reports. Regardless, we always take the safety and security of our forces in Afghanistan — and around the world — most seriously and therefore continuously adopt measures to prevent harm from potential threats.”
On Friday, the New York Times ran an article citing unnamed intelligence officials as claiming that Donald Trump had been told about (but did not react to) an intelligence report claiming Russia paid to Taliban fighters to assassinate coalition troops in Afghanistan amid peace talks with the militant group last year.
Both Russia and the Taliban denied the accusations, which surfaced months after the Trump administration struck a peace deal with the militants that brought an end – at least, formally – to America’s longest war.
The White House maintained that neither President Donald Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence were briefed on the alleged intelligence.