Trump Cozied Up to Putin Even After We Discovered Russia was Targeting Our Troops in Afghanistan
On Friday, The New York Times reported that Russia paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants to encourage attacks on American and British forces in Afghanistan. Apparently, US intelligence officials discovered the plan in March, but it's not clear when President Trump was briefed on the plot and why there has been no US response.
New York Times: "American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter."
"The United States concluded months ago that the Russian unit, which has been linked to assassination attempts and other covert operations in Europe intended to destabilize the West or take revenge on turncoats, had covertly offered rewards for successful attacks last year."
The Washington Post has now confirmed the story and White House officials have simply stated that President Trump was not briefed on the matter. That's a bit difficult to believe in that it would have represented a major escalation of Russian interference in Afghanistan at a time when the Trump administration was attempting to negotiate an agreement to end the war.
Intelligence officials aren't clear yet on what Russia hoped to accomplish, but it's possible that President Vladimir Putin wanted to ensure that US troops were bogged down in Afghanistan for a bit longer. One US official suggested to the Post that Russia may have wanted to “muddy the [peace] negotiations on Afghanistan by throwing a stick in that.”
The report of the Russian plot in Afghanistan is embarrassing for the Trump administration because President Trump has failed to confront Putin or sanction Russia, and argued recently that Russia deserves to be re-admitted to the G7, over the objections of both Canada and the U. K.
And, Vice-President Joe Biden was quick to point out that Trump has often been slow to respond to Russian aggression during his presidency.
New York Times, Biden: “Not only has he failed to sanction or impose any kind of consequences on Russia for this egregious violation of international law, Donald Trump has continued his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin,” Mr. Biden said in a virtual town hall event held by a voter group, Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote."
“His entire presidency has been a gift to Putin, but this is beyond the pale,” Mr. Biden added. “It’s a betrayal of the most sacred duty we bear as a nation, to protect and equip our troops when we send them into harm’s way.”
By: Don Lam & Curated Content