Russian agents offered Taliban bonuses for attacks on U.S. Army

Russian agents offered Taliban bonuses for attacks on U.S. Army

In Afghanistan, Russian intelligence agents have offered Taliban fighters a kind of bounty when they attack US soldiers. The New York Times reports, citing US government circles.

© picture-alliance / Zuma
Graduates of a Taliban training camp in Farah province (archive image)

As the New York Times newspaper writes, US intelligence agencies believe Taliban fighters received money from Russian secret agents in Afghanistan last year for successful attacks of this kind on American troops in Afghanistan. The Washington Post reports that money has also been offered for attacks on British military personnel.

According to the New York Times report, intelligence agencies announced to President Donald Trump in March of this finding. However, this has not yet responded. It is unclear whether the militant groups to which Russia is said to have actually killed US soldiers. According to the newspaper, 20 Americans were killed in combat situations in 2019. It is therefore unclear which deaths are associated with the alleged Russian initiative.

Kremlin denies it

Support for Islamist groups by Russia is described as a new escalation in the United States. A Kremlin spokesman quoted by the New York Times said they knew nothing about the allegations. According to a report by, there have been no official statements from the National Security Council, the Pentagon or the CIA abroad.

Russia dismissed the allegations as “unfounded allegations”. The Russian embassy in Washington wrote on Twitter that the allegations had already given death threats to embassy staff in Washington and London. The New York Times accused the Russian mission of spreading Fakenews.

Russia has a conflicting history with Afghanistan. The former Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979. There followed a ten-year war against Islamist militias, which were then supported by the United States. When the Soviet soldiers withdrew, the radical Taliban movement emerged from the militias. Russia had recently been accused of providing arms to its fighters.



Looking for explanations

According to the latest report, various theories are circulating about why Russia should support Taliban attacks. One theory says that Russia wants to take revenge for the killing of Russian mercenaries in Syria by US soldiers. During the war in Syria, Moscow sided with ruler Bashar al-Assad. Others suspected a Russian interest in keeping the United States in the deadlocked conflict in Afghanistan for a long time.

Trump has announced several times that he intends to end the long-term military operation in the country. US soldiers have been fighting in the Hindu Kush since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. In February, the US and Taliban reached an agreement in Doha regulating the gradual withdrawal of the US armed forces. A prerequisite for the withdrawal is a decrease in violence in Afghanistan. The US administration is seeking new political talks for Afghanistan based on the Doha Agreement. The aim is to withdraw their own troops from the country entirely.

kle / uh (afp, rtre,
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