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Kremlin Paying Taliban To Kill US Soldiers

PostPosted: June 26th, 2020, 6:41 pm
by toucana
According to a report in the New York Times, Russia has been secretly offering bounties to the Taliban and other Afghan mercenaries in return for killing US soldiers stationed there.

President Trump and other senior members of the US government have been aware of these intelligence reports for several months, but the gravity of them apparently didn’t discourage President Trump from trying to re-invite Russian President Vladimir Putin back into the forthcoming G7 economic summit talks just a month ago - a move that was only thwarted when other international leaders in the G7 flatly vetoed any such suggestion.

President Trump has now abruptly cancelled his scheduled weekend visit to his Bedminster golf club resort according to latest reports this Friday, while he and his advisers decide how to handle this latest breaking scandal.

Re: Kremlin Paying Taliban To Kill US Soldiers

PostPosted: June 26th, 2020, 7:47 pm
by toucana
Further reporting by Business Insider identifies the the Russian intelligence department involved as Unit 29155 which is a branch of Russia's GRU military intelligence agency.

This is the same unit that was implicated in the Novichok poisoning attacks on the former Russian secret agent and defector Sergei Skripal and his wife in Salisbury UK in 2018.

Unit 29155, which is believed to be made up of former Russian special-forces troops, has been blamed for a series of assassination attempts throughout Europe.

One theory floated by some of the officials is that Moscow may have been retaliating after an embarrassing defeat during a battle in Syria in 2018. Between 200 and 300 mercenaries from a Russia-linked security firm were killed during a four-hour battle at a military base that housed US-led coalition forces.

Re: Kremlin Paying Taliban To Kill US Soldiers

PostPosted: June 29th, 2020, 4:50 am
by toucana
A senior Conservative MP is seeking an urgent question in the Commons on Monday about an alleged plot that a Russian intelligence unit offered Taliban-linked fighters bounties to kill coalition troops in Afghanistan.

British security officials have confirmed to Sky News that the reports about the plot are true.

If Tobias Ellwood, chair of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, is granted his urgent question, it will require a government minister to respond in person.

Mr Ellwood told Sky News: "I think it's completely unacceptable that a fellow permanent member of the UN Security Council is now seen to be training and supplying arms to the very militia that has prevented peaceful conclusions to this decade-old conflict (in Afghanistan).

"So serious is this that I'll be seeking an urgent question on Monday and will be encouraging the UK to raise this matter at the UN and indeed our NATO allies."

There are currently around 1,000 British troops deployed in Afghanistan, mainly in the capital Kabul, and no confirmation any have been hurt as a result of the Russian efforts.

Tom Tugenhadt, chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee and a former soldier in Afghanistan, told Sky News: "Reports of Russian attempts to incite attacks on British troops are deeply concerning.

"We know the GRU have been caught in the UK and are active around the world and that's a danger to our forces."

It is understood the intelligence was only shared with British officials recently but Boris Johnson has now been briefed. Downing Street will be under pressure to respond to the news and take action against Moscow.

The direct targeting of British troops, will again raise the question of when the long overdue report into Russian interference by parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) will be published.

The report, which examined claims of Russian interference in Britain, was sent to Downing Street on 17 October last year for sign-off.

That process usually takes no more than 10 days, but the report is still yet to be published and the ISC hasn't been reconvened after December's general election.