Fears of total war after claims Russia paid Afghan militants to kill American soldiers

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According to the New York Times US intelligence came to the conclusion months ago that a Russian military intelligence unit had offered rewards for successful attacks last year.

This was the same GRU unit which has been linked to assassination attempts in Europe.

The newspaper said it’s believed some of the bounty money for successful attacks was collected.

The White House, CIA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence have all declined to comment on the New York Times’ report.

Meanwhile, US President, Donald Trump has been briefed on the information but the White House is not believed to have authorised any response yet to Russia.

Out of the 20 US troops who were killed in combat in 2019 it’s not clear which, if any, were linked with the bounty scheme.

After nearly 20 years of fighting the Taliban, the United States is looking for a way to extricate itself from Afghanistan.

A US coalition invaded Afghanistan back in 2001, with its prime aim of dismantling Al-Qaeda and removing the Taliban from power.

A key ally during this military intervention was the United Kingdom.

This invasion followed a previous civil war in the country between the Taliban and Northern Alliance groups.


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However, by 2001 the Taliban occupied 90 per cent of the country.

After 20 years of conflict, the US is now seeking to pull out of Afghanistan and want to achieve a peace deal between the Afghan government and Taliban.

On February 29, the US and the Taliban managed to strike a deal that called for a phased withdrawal of American soldiers.


The US and Nato allies have agreed to withdraw all troops within 14 months if the militants uphold the deal.

President Trump said it had been a “long and hard journey” in Afghanistan.

“It’s time after all these years to bring our people back home,” he said.

Under the agreement, the militants also agreed not to allow al-Qaeda or any other extremist group to operate in the areas they control.

According to the President, before the deal was made, the Taliban had long sought a negotiated settlement with the US.

When the deal was made Mr Trump said: “I really believe the Taliban wants to do something to show we’re not all wasting time.”

“If bad things happen, we’ll go back with a force like no-one’s ever seen.”

Currently, there are around 8,600 US troops in Afghanistan, which is ahead of a schedule agreed with the Taliban.

This is partly down to concerns about the spread of COVID-19, according to US and NATO officials.

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