Trump faces outrage after report reveals Russia offered Afghan militants 'rewards to kill Americans'

Trump faces outrage after report reveals Russia offered Afghan militants 'rewards to kill Americans'
US President Donald Trump has been slammed for failing to respond to intelligence accusing Russia of offering rewards to Taliban-linked militants to kill troops of the US-led coalition in Afghanistan.
3 min read
27 June, 2020
Trump has been criticised for his inaction [Getty]
Senior US Democrats have expressed outrage after a report revealed a Russian unit offered rewards to Taliban-linked militants to kill troops of the US-led coalition in Afghanistan, according to a report published by The New York Times on Friday.

Top Democrat senators took aim at US President Donald Trump for "cosying up" to the Russians while Americans were being killed.

In a tweet responding to the report, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine said: “Trump was cozying up to Putin and inviting him to the G7 all while his administration reportedly knew Russia was trying to kill US troops in Afghanistan and derail peace talks with the Taliban.”

Meanwhile, Michael McFaul, a former ambassador to Russia expressed his own outrage, saying: “I hope the American people will be as outraged as I am over Trump’s complacency. After he knew about these Putin-ordered contracts to kill US soldiers, Trump invited Putin to the G7.”

But the alarm spread across America's political sphere with Republican political consultant, John Weaver also weighing in on the topic.

"Trump knew Russia was paying bounties on the lives of American servicemen in Afghanistan. He took no action against Putin. Instead,
@realDonaldTrump REWARDED Putin by trying to insert Russia back into the G-7. And, not enough, withdrawing 25,000 American troops from Germany," he tweeted.

The comments came after the NYT report revealed the purported bounties gave incentives to the guerrillas to target US forces, amid President Donald Trump's attempts to withdraw troops and end America's longest war.

The newspaper, citing anonymous officials, said that Trump was briefed on the findings in March, but has not decided how to respond.

It said that militants were believed to have collected bounty money, but that it was unclear whether specific killings of US troops were under suspicion.

The newspaper quoted a Kremlin spokesman saying only that Russia was unaware of the accusations.

Russia has a tortured history in Afghanistan, where the former Soviet Union in its final years was bogged down in a devastating fight against Islamic guerrillas, then backed by Washington.

But Russia has more recently been accused by the United States of quietly providing small arms to the Taliban.

The New York Times said there were different theories on why Russia would support Taliban attacks, including a desire to keep the United States bogged down in war.

According to the newspaper, the Taliban operation was led by a unit known as the GRU, which has been blamed in numerous international incidents including a 2018 chemical weapons attack in Britain that nearly killed Russian-born double agent Sergei Skripal.

It said that the Russian unit may also be seeking revenge over the US killing of Russian mercenaries in Syria, where Moscow backs President Bashar al-Assad.

Read more: Will a gut-wrenching attack on mothers and babies shake up Afghanistan's peace process?

US intelligence concluded that Russia intervened in the 2016 presidential election in a bid to assist Trump, including through manipulation of social media.

Trump has scoffed at the findings and sought a warmer relationship with President Vladimir Putin, even as his administration keeps imposing sanctions over Russia over its actions on Ukraine.

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