Trump denies he was briefed on Russia-Taliban bounty intelligence
Washington: US President Donald Trump denied Sunday he had been briefed on intelligence that reportedly showed Russia had offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing US soldiers in Afghanistan.
In a pair of early morning tweets, Trump angrily slammed the report by The New York Times as "Probably just another phony Times hit job, just like their failed Russia Hoax."
"Nobody briefed or told me, @VP Pence, or Chief of Staff @MarkMeadows about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians, as reported through an ‘anonymous source’ by the Fake News @nytimes," he wrote.
"Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us…."
"Nobody’s been tougher on Russia than the Trump Administration."
On Friday, the Times reported that US intelligence had concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit offered rewards to Taliban-linked militants to kill troops of the US-led coalition in Afghanistan.
The rewards were purportedly incentives to target US forces as Trump tries to withdraw troops from the conflict-torn country -- one of the militants’ key demands -- and end America’s longest war.
Citing anonymous officials, The Times said Trump was briefed on the findings in March, but has not decided how to respond.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Saturday issued a denial similar to Trump’s but left open the possibility that such intelligence existed.
"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," McEnany said. - AFP