Russian bounties paid to Taliban-linked militants for the murder of coalition forces in Afghanistan led to the deaths of several members of the U.S. military, according to The Washington Post, which notes that confirmation of those deaths came from intelligence as a result of interrogations of captured militants over the past few months:
“Several people familiar with the matter said it was unclear exactly how many Americans or coalition troops from other countries may have been killed or targeted under the program. U.S. forces in Afghanistan suffered a total of 10 deaths from hostile gunfire or improvised bombs in 2018, and 16 in 2019. Two have been killed this year. In each of those years, several service members were also killed by what are known as ‘green on blue’ hostile incidents by members of Afghan security forces, which are sometimes believed to have been infiltrated by the Taliban.”
Despite this confirmation, President Donald Trump asserted on Sunday that any intelligence officials never informed him of the bounties offered by Russia because they didn’t believe the information they had was credible:
Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP. Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!! https://t.co/cowOmP7T1S
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2020
Despite that denial, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that the administration needs to provide Congress with a full accounting of what the president knew and when he knew it:
“This is as bad as it gets, and yet the president will not confront the Russians on this score, denies being briefed.
“But he wants to ignore, he wants to bring them back to the G-8 despite the annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine, despite what they yielded to [Putin] in Syria, despite [Russian President Vladimir Putin’s] intervention into our election, which is well documented by our intelligence community, and despite now possibly this allegation, which we should have been briefed on.”
Pelosi was joined by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the third-highest-ranking member of the House GOP leadership, who tweeted out Sunday:
If reporting about Russian bounties on US forces is true, the White House must explain:
1. Why weren’t the president or vice president briefed? Was the info in the PDB?
2. Who did know and when?
3. What has been done in response to protect our forces & hold Putin accountable?
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) June 28, 2020
Featured Image Via NBC News