Share
News

US General: No Evidence That 'Bounties' Have Led to Troops' Deaths

Share

The top U.S. general for the Middle East said Tuesday that the intelligence suggesting that Russia may have paid Taliban militants to kill American troops in Afghanistan was worrisome, but he is not convinced that any bounties resulted in U.S. military deaths.

Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, said in a telephone interview with a group of reporters that the U.S. did not increase force protection measures in Afghanistan as a result of the information, although he asked his intelligence staff to dig into the matter more.

“I found it very worrisome. I didn’t find that there was a causative link there,” McKenzie said. He is the first Pentagon official to speak publicly at length about the issue.

According to U.S. intelligence officials, information that Russia may have offered bounties to Taliban militants for killing American troops was included in an intelligence brief for President Donald Trump in late February.

The White House, however, has denied Trump was briefed at that time, arguing that the intelligence was not credible enough to bring to his attention.

Trending:
NIH Confirms It Funded Wuhan Gain-of-Function Research, Now Fauci Could Spend 5 Years in Jail

McKenzie said that while he could draw no direct link between any potential payments and U.S. casualties, it’s common that intelligence is not definitive.

“We should always remember, the Russians are not our friends,” according to McKenzie, who is traveling in the Middle East.

“They are not our friends in Afghanistan. And they do not wish us well, and we just need to remember that at all times when we evaluate that intelligence.”

He said there was no need to beef up security for troops there because the U.S. already takes “extreme force protections measures” in Afghanistan.

Do you believe that Russia is paying the Taliban to kill U.S. troops?

“Whether the Russians are paying the Taliban or not, over the past several years, the Taliban have done their level best to carry out operations against us.”

The U.S. signed an agreement with the Taliban in February, mapping out the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan by May 2021.

That date would be nearly 20 years after American forces invaded the country after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S. by al-Qaida militants.

Trump has said he wants to pull all U.S. forces out of Afghanistan.

The U.S. withdrew several thousand troops this year, and now has about 8,600 there.

Related:
Time Running Out for Biden to Free the 17 Hostages as Gang Leader Vows to 'Put a Bullet in Their Heads'

Additional troop withdrawal is contingent on the Taliban’s commitment that Islamic extremist groups, such as al-Qaida and the Islamic State group, not be able to use the country as a base to carry out attacks on the U.S.

Asked about the potential for pulling more U.S. troops out, McKenzie said he still does not believe the conditions allow for a significant reduction yet.


[jwplayer 4cbQTRKU]

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



loading

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
, , , , , , , ,
Share
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




loading

Conversation