Months ago US intelligence officials came to the conclusion that Russia had offered bounties to Taliban forces to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan. Last year, 20 Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan.
Many American and Afghan officials already believed Russia supported the Taliban prior to this report. It was considered a part of Russia’s overall destabilization campaign against the US and Europe.
Both the Russian government and the Taliban have denied the allegations. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied “any such relations with any intelligence agency. These kinds of deals with the Russian intelligence agency are baseless — our target killings and assassinations were ongoing in years before, and we did it on our own resources. That changed after our deal with the Americans, and their lives are secure and we don’t attack them.”
President Trump has denied having any knowledge of the matter. In fact, White House sources claim the report never made it to the President or Vice President.
Critics of the President, in both the US and Europe, feel that he is too soft toward Russia and doesn’t realize the threat Putin represents.
The finding is sure to inflame the under-current of tension between the US and Russia. In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in order to support the nation’s communist government against Islamic rebels, the Mujahideen. In response, the US supported the fundamentalist Islamic group. The Russians where driven from Afghanistan, the Mujahideen became the Taliban and the US turned against them. For many observers, the power struggle lives on, though this time it has flipped with Russia backing the Islamic extremists against the Americans.