Despite the absence of evidence and waves of criticism from all sides regarding the media allegations that Russia offered bounties to the Taliban for killing American soldiers, some US officials continue to groundlessly demand sanctions on Moscow over the report.
The New York Times has released a fresh piece citing a newly-released memo by The National Intelligence Council, saying that the government “lacks direct evidence” on the Russian-Taliban “bounties” case.
The level of confidence that Russia did “collude” with the Taliban in order to offer rewards for killing US soldiers was described in the new memo as “medium”, which The New York Times added “falls short of near certainty”. Meanwhile, other agencies have expressed their confidence level to be even lower, saying they “did not have information to support that conclusion at the same level”.
Even after having admitted to not obtaining credible evidence of their allegations, the NYT report goes on to cite concerns voiced by several officials that the “assessment of the suspected Russian bounty programme could be politicised”.
The reported memo seems to corrode almost every “reason” behind the allegations ever provided by the media. There is no direct evidence about the contents of the purported “talks” between “GRU” officials and the Taliban, no surveillance is provided to back up the assertions that the criminal ringleader’s underlings told the interrogators about the Russian bounties, and the Defence Intelligence Agency admitted to not having information “directly connecting the suspected operation to the Kremlin”.
Even the origin of the money allegedly “seized in a raid on a compound” wasn’t confirmed as being related to a bounty.
Still, the report stuck to the idea that Donald Trump is to be blamed for not taking any action over the so-called “intelligence” that even The New York Times’ unnamed officials described as uncertain.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to reporters following a classified intelligence briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliffe on reports that Russia paid the Taliban bounties to kill U.S. military in Afghanistan, during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. July 2, 2020.
Scandal Over Report
The “Russian bounties” scandal erupted when The New York Times ran a story suggesting that Moscow had offered reward money to Taliban-linked militants to motivate them to kill US troops. The report was rejected by every side to the story: the Kremlin, the White House, the Defence Department and National Intelligence, and the Taliban itself.
Despite this, the hype behind the claims continued, with members of the Democratic Party accusing Trump of inaction and ignorance of the matter and demanding sanctions against Russia.