Trump got written briefing on ‘Russia bounties to Taliban’, reports say

Trump got written briefing on 'Russia bounties to Taliban', reports say
Trump administration facing rising pressure to explain the Russian bounty. Source: AFP
3 Min Read

Daily US Times: The White House is facing rising pressure to explain how much the administration knew about allegations Russia offered the Taliban money to kill US troops in Afghanistan.

White House officials have insisted that Mr Trump was not “personally” informed of the alleged plot in Afghanistan in 2019, but reports say he received a written briefing earlier this year.

There is concern that Mr Trump might have had access to information about threats to US forces abroad but did not act.

The intelligence reportedly arrived in a time when the US attempts to negotiate a peace deal to end the 19-year war in Afghanistan and while president Donald Trump sought to improve relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Reports by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, quoting unnamed US officials, said a Russian military intelligence unit known as GRU had offered Taliban-linked militants bounties to kill US troops in Afghanistan.

In 2019, twenty American troops died in Afghanistan, but the New York Times said it was not clear which deaths were under suspicion.

Russia and Taliban denied the initial reports, while the Taliban said it had not done any deal with Russia.

The allegations come as Donald Trump seeks re-election in the November poll.

Russia maintains close links with the Taliban, and the country is also waging a “grey” or undeclared war against the West.

Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has smarted from every perceived indignity suffered since the fall of the Soviet Union.

What are the new developments?

The New York Times cited two unnamed US officials on Monday in its report which says the intelligence assessment had been included in the President’s Daily Brief report – a written document with key government intelligence – in late February.

Following The Time’s report, the Associated Press (AP) and CNN have also reported that the president received the intelligence in a written briefing earlier this year. Mr Trump is said to largely ignore the President’s Daily Brief, he rather relies more on oral briefings by intelligence officials a few times a week.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany only said that Mr Trump had not been “personally briefed”. She did not answer when asked by reporters whether the information had been included in the president’s written briefing.

There was “no consensus within the intelligence community” about the assessment, she said. But several US media reported citing former intelligence officials, that in previous administrations, claims of such importance would be reported to the president, even if the evidence had not been fully established.

You may read: Trump’s phone calls with Putin and Erdogan alarmed US officials