The United States intelligence community backed away from the report that Russian intelligence operatives encouraged the Taliban to attack American troops in Afghanistan as they do not have conclusive evidence.
The matter came to light after The New York Times published an article titled, ‘Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says’ last year in June which mentioned “American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter,” the report said.
This report was referred during a 2020 presidential debate by then-candidate Joe Biden, who like many Democrats, used the story to paint Trump as being soft on Russian President Vladimir Putin and not caring about American service members.
“I don’t understand why this president is unwilling to take on Putin when he’s actually paying bounties to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan,” Biden said.
However, it must be noted that Donald Trump time and again called it a hoax but the propaganda machinery dismissed his remarks as a ‘lie’ and continued to tarnish the Trump administration.
Now, the Biden administration’s intelligence community says they have only “low to moderate confidence” in the underlying intel on those allegations.
Trump had clarified that he was not briefed about the story as there was ‘no consensus’ about the credibility of the Intelligence report. This was confirmed by then-national security adviser Robert O’Brien also.
Trump, whose account now remains suspended, also tweeted that the entire incident is cooked up to tarnish their party’s image. “The Russia Bounty story is just another made up Fake News tale that is told only to damage me and the Republican Party. The secret source probably does not even exist, just like the story itself. If the discredited @nytimes has a source, reveal it. Just another HOAX! “
The revelation has now become a source of embarrassment. The Biden administration has also announced their plans to sanction dozens of Russian officials, going as far as to expel 10 Russian diplomats from the U.S. The White House said the sanctions will attempt to deter “Russia’s harmful foreign activities.”
Meanwhile, Russian officials have denied the accusations.