On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that intelligence officials have tracked down payments from the Russian military to the Taliban that could be the alleged bounties paid to kill American troops in Afghanistan.
“American officials intercepted electronic data showing large financial transfers from a bank account controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency to a Taliban-linked account, evidence that supported their conclusion that Russia covertly offered bounties for killing U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, according to three officials familiar with the intelligence,” reported Charlie Savage, Mujib Mashal, Rukmini Callimachi, Eric Schmitt, and Adam Goldman.
“Though the United States has accused Russia of providing general support to the Taliban before, analysts concluded from other intelligence that the transfers were most likely part of a bounty program that detainees described during interrogations,” continued the report. “Investigators also identified by name numerous Afghans in a network linked to the suspected Russian operation, the officials said — including, two of them added, a man believed to have served as an intermediary for distributing some of the funds and who is now thought to be in Russia.”
President Donald Trump has come under outrage following reports that he was given a Presidential Daily Briefing warning about the bounties on U.S. troops in spring, but did not act on it and continued to publicly seek favors for Russia like readmission into the G7.