Trump knew back in March. He has done nothing about it.
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 United States concluded months ago that the Russian unit, which has been linked to assassination attempts and other covert operations in Europe intended to destabilize the West or take revenge on turncoats, had covertly offered rewards for successful attacks last year.
Islamist militants, or armed criminal elements closely associated with them, are believed to have collected some bounty money, the officials said. Twenty Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2019, but it was not clear which killings were under suspicion.
The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March, the officials said. Officials developed a menu of potential options — starting with making a diplomatic complaint to Moscow and a demand that it stop, along with an escalating series of sanctions and other possible responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step, the officials said.
An operation to incentivize the killing of American and other NATO troops would be a significant and provocative escalation of what American and Afghan officials have said is Russian support for the Taliban, and it would be the first time the Russian spy unit was known to have orchestrated attacks on Western troops.
Any involvement with the Taliban that resulted in the deaths of American troops would also be a huge escalation of Russia’s so-called hybrid war against the United States, a strategy of destabilizing adversaries through a combination of such tactics as cyberattacks, the spread of fake news and covert and deniable military operations.
The Kremlin had not been made aware of the accusations, said Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. “If someone makes them, we’ll respond,” Mr. Peskov said. A Taliban spokesman did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Spokespeople at the National Security Council, the Pentagon, the State Department and the C.I.A. declined to comment.
So yeah. Russians paid Taliban militias to kill US and NATO troops, and the militias collected some cash. Putin paid terrorists to kill US/NATO troops, and Trump has done absolutely nothing about it.
It also means Republicans in Congress knew about it, at the minimum Mitch McConnell and Senate Foreign Affairs chair Jim Risch, and they did nothing.
So who leaked the story?
My guess is now outgoing House Democratic Foreign Affairs Chair Eliot Engel, who lost his primary this week, he was absolutely crushed by newcomer Jamaal Bowman after a 32-year career, suffering a 35-point loss.
Engel ditched his NY-16 district during the height of the NYC COVID-19 epidemic and hid out in Maryland, and then was caught on hot mic saying he wouldn't even be at a news conference of community leaders on police reform in his district if he didn't have a primary challenger.
The voters absolutely destroyed him for it. So, Engel figured he had nothing left to lose and figured he'd hurt Trump on the way out. It's not a coincidence this story blows up just days after Engel loses his primary.
I bet there's a lot more Engel is sitting on.