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US intell shows Russian bounties led to US troop deaths: reports

MOSCOW: US intelligence agencies found that Russian bounty offers to Taliban militants led to the deaths of several...

Jun 30 2020

MOSCOW: US intelligence agencies found that Russian bounty offers to Taliban militants led to the deaths of several American soldiers, the Washington Post reported, as President Donald Trump sought to cast doubt on the information.

It was unclear how many US or coalition troops may have been targeted or killed under the Moscow program, the Post said late Sunday, but the intelligence stemmed from US military interrogations of captured militants and was passed up from US Special Operations forces in Afghanistan.

The New York Times separately reported that US intelligence officials believe at least one American military death stemmed from the bounties, citing two officials briefed on the matter. Reuters could not immediately confirm the reports.

Trump early on Sunday said he was never briefed on the Russian bounty effort reported by the New York Times. As the report drew concerns even among his fellow Republicans, Trump later said intelligence officials told him he was not briefed because the information was not credible.

The Kremlin on Monday denied the bounty report, first published by the New York Times on Friday, that Russian forces had offered to pay Taliban-linked militants to kill US and other Western soldiers in Afghanistan.

"These allegations are lies," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had never discussed the allegations.