The Pentagon said there is “no corroborating evidence” to back up a New York Times report that alleges the Russian military offered bounties to Taliban-affiliated militants to kill U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan, Fox News reports.
“To date, DOD has no corroborating evidence to validate the recent allegations found in open-source reports. Regardless, we always take the safety and security of our forces in Afghanistan — and around the world — most seriously and therefore continuously adopt measures to prevent harm from potential threats,” Jonathan Hoffman, the chief Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement late Monday.
The New York Times published a report on Friday alleging that some “Islamist militants” or “criminal elements” received money. The newspaper reported that there 20 Americans killed in Afghanistan in 2019. It was unclear if any of the deaths were the outcome of a bounty.
The White House and President Donald Trump stated they were unaware of the intel referenced in the report. The New York Times article stated Trump was notified of the report.
National security adviser Robert O’Brien said in a statement that Trump was not briefed on the topic because the report was not verified by intelligence agencies.
“Nevertheless, the administration, including the National Security Council staff, have been preparing should the situation warrant action,” he said, adding safety of military members and security of Americans is of utmost importance to Trump.
White House Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also stated that Trump wasn’t briefed on the situation.
“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,” she said in a statement.
But a White House official told Fox News on Monday that Trump was finally briefed on the issue, but it took place after the New York Times article ran.
The White House has still maintained that Trump hasn’t been updated on the topic, according to Fox News.
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