Donald Trump said he had not been “briefed” on possible bonuses paid by Moscow to insurgents for killing western soldiers in Afghanistan, contrary to press reports.
If the information is proven, it could trigger a real diplomatic crisis between Russia and the United States. According to the American daily New York Times, followed by Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, Russian agents had discreetly distributed money to fighters “close to the Taliban” to kill American or NATO soldiers in Afghanistan. For its part, Russia firmly denies this information. L’Express make the point.
- Relatives of the Taliban paid by Russia
This conclusion dates from several months ago, when the Afghan Islamist rebels were in full negotiations with Washington to put an end to the longest war in the United States, according to the daily. An agreement between the Americans and the Taliban was signed on February 29, which provides for a complete gradual withdrawal of American forces and peace negotiations between the insurgents and the government in Kabul.
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A Russian military intelligence unit is said to have distributed money to Islamist fighters or armed criminals close to the Taliban, he added. New York Times, without being able to say how many of the twenty Americans who died in combat in Afghanistan in 2019 would have been in connection with this Russian operation.
Russia strongly denied information on Saturday New York Times. “These unfounded and anonymous accusations that Moscow is behind the deaths of American soldiers in Afghanistan have already resulted in direct threats to the lives of employees of the Russian embassies in Washington and London,” the Russian Embassy to the United States said on Twitter. United.
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In another message, the embassy called the New York Times to “stop fabricating false information” and asked the American authorities to “take effective measures” to ensure the safety of its employees.
- The Taliban also deny
The Taliban also vigorously denied these allegations. “The holy war waged for 19 years by the Islamic Emirate (name of the Afghan state under the Taliban regime, from 1996 to 2001, note) owes nothing to the benefits of any intelligence service or foreign country,” say they in a statement issued in Kabul.
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Afghan insurgents also reject previous US accusations of arms supplies from Russia. “The Islamic Emirate used weapons, installations and tools (…) already present in Afghanistan or spoils of war recovered from the enemy during clashes,” assures the group, which recalls that homemade explosive devices are responsible for the majority of American casualties in Afghanistan.
The Taliban also point out that it remains committed to the agreement signed on February 29 in Doha with Washington, which notably provides that they will stop attacking foreign troops in exchange for their gradual withdrawal from Afghanistan before the spring. 2021.
- Trump claims not to have been “briefed”
Also according to the newspaper, which quotes anonymous officials, President Donald Trump was informed and his national security advisers discussed the problem at a meeting in late March. Washington more recently shared its discovery with the United Kingdom, whose soldiers were also allegedly targeted.
But the American president denies his side to have been informed of the affair. “Nobody briefed me, or briefed vice president Mike Pence or chief of staff Mark Meadows on the alleged attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by the Russians,” assured the American president in a tweet. morning. “Everyone denies it and there have not been many attacks against us,” he added, attacking “bogus media” for the umpteenth time.
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Before his election, Donald Trump had promised a warming of relations with Russia by Vladimir Putin. And he also recently said he wanted to invite the Russian president to the next G7 summit. But the desire for rapprochement of the republican billionaire has always come up against accusations of Russian interference in the presidential election of 2016, formulated with clarity by American intelligence.