Trump Rejects NY Times Report on Russian Afghan Attacks on Troops

Russia secretly offered Taliban bounties to kill U.S. troops, New York Times reports

President Trump said Sunday he wasn't briefed by USA intelligence on a report that Russian agents offered bounties to Afghan militants to kill US soldiers.

A stunning report in the New York Times from Charlie Savage, Eric Schmitt and Michael Schwirtz: "Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says".

The NYT reported: "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".

Biden criticized Trump for "his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself" before Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

The report said the Russians offered rewards for successful attacks a year ago, at a time when the USA and Taliban were holding talks to end the long-running war.

The Taliban have denied the report, reiterating that they were committed to an accord signed with Washington in February that paves the way for withdrawing all foreign forces from Afghanistan by next year.

Trump tweeted that "there have not been many attacks" on U.S. troops by Taliban fighters as his evidence that the reported intelligence may be "phony".

"The idea that Trump wouldn't be briefed on Russian Federation putting a bounty on United States troops is even crazier than him being briefed and doing nothing", Ben Rhodes, a former national security aide to Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, wrote on Twitter.

"The nineteen-year jihad of the Islamic Emirate is not indebted to the beneficence of any intelligence organ or foreign country", the Taliban said in a statement issued in Kabul.

Russian Federation called the report "nonsense".

Four U.S. soldiers were killed in combat in Afghanistan earlier this year.

The White House, the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined requests from Reuters for comment on the Times report.

Why it matters: Cheney, the chair of the House Republican Conference, is the highest-ranking GOP figure in Congress to question the White House on the explosive reports of Russian bounties, which - if true - would mark a major escalation in U.S.

In April, ABC News claimed Trump had been briefed about a military intelligence report which warned that a catastrophic outbreak of a viral disease was emerging from China.

"Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us", he continued.

US troops patrol at an Afghan National Army base in Logar province, Afghanistan August 7, 2018.

Military officials this month spoke out in unusually harsh terms over what they said was Russia's decision to provide fourth-generation jet fighters to a rogue general in Libya, adding to a spiralling proxy conflict there.