Previous posts in this discussion:
PostRussia Offers Bounties to Taliban for Killing US Troops: NY Times (Tor Guimaraes, USA, 06/29/20 4:34 am)
One of the few things I continue to appreciate from President Trump is his apparent policy of military disengagements (with some shocking exceptions) all over the world.
I believe military strength (which I think is important for self-defense in today's crazy world) should be based on strong intelligence, and ability to strike powerfully according to carefully thought-out priorities and in reaction to enemy attacks. As everything Trump does, I can make no rhyme or reason from his policies and can only hope others in power know what they are doing. I was quite pleased that in February, in Doha, the US and the Taliban signed a deal for winding down the war in Afghanistan, whereby the Taliban assured it would not allow Afghanistan to be used for terrorist attacks against the United States. Then, the Rick Wilson curse on Trump struck again: The New York Times on Friday reported that based on unidentified White House officials, that Trump and Pence were briefed on the intelligence findings about Russian bounties for Taliban killing of US troops in Afghanistan and that the White House's National Security Council held a meeting about the issue in late March.
Early Sunday, President Trump denied by Tweet that he had been briefed on the subject: "Nobody briefed or told me, VP Pence, or Chief of Staff Mark Meadows about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians, ... by the Fake News @nytimes. Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us...Nobody's been tougher on Russia than the Trump Administration. With Corrupt Joe Biden & Obama, Russia had a field day, taking over important parts of Ukraine--Where's Hunter? Probably just another phony Times hit job, just like their failed Russia Hoax. Who is their 'source'?"
On Saturday, White House press secretary denied the Times report they were briefed on American intelligence findings that Russian military operatives offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan. The WH statement continued: "The WH receives thousands of intelligence reports a day and they are subject to strict scrutiny, but that this does not speak to the merit of the alleged intelligence but to the inaccuracy of the New York Times story erroneously suggesting that President Trump was briefed on this matter."
In reality, the Taliban apparently has refrained from attacking US forces even though they have stepped up attacks against Afghan forces since the Doha agreement which also allows the US military to come to the defense of its Afghan partners if attacked by the Taliban. Earlier this month, US forces in Afghanistan conducted two airstrikes against the Taliban. However, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and Fox News published reports confirming the Times' reporting that an intelligence assessment found that a Russian agents offered payments to the Taliban to attack US troops. The Lincoln Project (a group of conservative Republicans who think Trump is the devil in disguise) has produced the following ad against Trump, which, if true, should be politically, legally, morally, devastating:
JE comments: Here's the NY Times article (June 26th). Trump is correct on one thing: there is no named source. But if the WSJ and the Washington Post, not to mention Fox, have confirmed the intelligence reports, there must be something there.
WAIS hasn't focused its attention on Afghanistan in a year or more. I'd say it's time to drill deeper into what's going on.