Russian Federation offered Afghan militants bounties to kill U.S. troops

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White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Saturday did not deny the validity of the report, but instead said Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were not briefed "on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence". "If someone makes them, we'll respond", Peskov said.

The U.S. concluded that the Russian unit, which has been linked to assassination attempts and other covert operations in Europe meant to destabilize the West or take revenge on turncoats, had covertly offered rewards for successful attacks past year.

The New York Times (NYT) published an article on Friday, in which it cited unnamed government sources as saying that Trump was presented with an intelligence report that claimed that Moscow could have paid a bounty to Taliban in Afghanistan to kill United States soldiers.

Joe Biden has hit out at US President Donald Trump.

The unnamed officials cited by the New York Times said U.S. intelligence agencies had concluded months ago that a unit of Russia's GRU military intelligence agency had sought to destabilise its adversaries by covertly offering bounties for successful attacks on coalition forces.

"Nobody's been tougher on Russian Federation than the Trump Administration".

The statement, McEnany said, did not address the "merit of the alleged intelligence" reported on Friday by the New York Times.

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Biden pledged retaliation if he becomes president.

The three reporters who wrote the story "obviously lack information on cooperation between Russia and #US on the Afghan peace process, on Syrian, North Korean, Venezuelan, Iranian agendas", the Russian Embassy tweeted.

The Times quoted a Taliban spokesperson denying that its fighters have such a deal with the Russian intelligence agency.

The officials quoted by the New York Times said the White House's National Security Council had considered how to respond, including imposing an escalating raft of sanctions against Russian Federation.

Officials developed potential responses, starting with a diplomatic complaint to Russian Federation, but the White House has yet to authorise any step, the report said. Twenty Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2019, but it was not clear which killings were under suspicion. The outlet said that Trump failed to act on the report.

"But they should never, never, never ever face a threat like this with their commander in chief turning a blind eye to a foreign power putting a bounty on their heads", he said.

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