A Russian secret service unit is said to have paid rewards to Taliban-linked militants in exchange for deadly attacks against Western military personnel, according to a US intelligence service cited this Friday by The New York Times.
According to the newspaper, which cites sources linked to this investigation, the Russian operation was carried out by a Moscow secret service unit that has also been linked to operations in Europe and the US, including assassination attempts or acts of revenge against agents Russians who start working for Western countries.
Various elements linked to the Taliban extremist group, which controls a significant part of rural Afghanistan, will have received monetary sums to assassinate fighters from the United States and other Western forces that are part of the NATO unit to coordinate the peace process in the region, at war since 2001, when the Taliban regime was removed from the country’s leadership.
Among the approximately 16,000 NATO soldiers currently present in Afghanistan are around two hundred Portuguese soldiers. It is not yet clear, according to The New York Times, that deaths may be at stake in this Russian-funded scheme.
U.S. President Donald Trump received the detailed conclusions of the investigation at a meeting with the country’s various security agencies. The White House has several options on the table to retaliate, starting with a formal complaint against Russia, which could evolve into economic sanctions against the country.
If Russian involvement with Taliban militants who killed US soldiers has been proven internationally, the result will inevitably be the intensification of tensions between the USA and Russia. So far, Russia says it has not yet been officially informed of these charges.