A classified American intelligence report discovered that a Russian spy unit allegedly paid members of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan to attack United States troops residing within the country lethally.
Bounties for US troops
According to the Wall Street Journal, an assessment of the involvement of the GRU, Russia's military intelligence agency, in urging attacks on US troops, comes after United States President Donald Trump is demanding the Pentagon to send back the majority of the soldiers from Afghanistan.
The suspicions also come amid attempts of US diplomats in coming to peaceful negotiations with the Taliban group and the Afghan government.
The intelligence report of Russia's alleged role in the incidents in Afghanistan reached the White House earlier this year. Before it arrived at the White House, only a handful of government officials knew of its contents.
Several months ago, the United States had concluded that the Russian unit that had previously been linked to attempts of assassination and other secretive operations in Europe attempted to undermine the West, had offered bounties to Taliban members last year to attack US troops, as reported by The New York Times.
Islamic militants or those closely linked to them allegedly collected some of the bounty funds, said officials. In 2019, 20 American soldiers lost their lives during combat in Afghanistan, but it is still unclear which of the killings were due to the bounties.
President Trump was briefed on the contents of the intelligence report, and afterwards, in an interagency meeting in March, the White House's National Security Country deliberated the issues.
Several officials offered up potential solutions, including making a formal diplomatic complaint against Moscow and demanding it to cease its operations. The option would also include placing sanctions and other possible actions. The White House, however, has not yet stepped into any formal steps regarding the matter.
Russia's embassy, located in Washington, DC, did not immediately respond to questions or requests for comments.
Ignoring the risks
The discovery of Russia's alleged involvement in harming US troops in Afghanistan had drawn Democratic lawmakers to express their criticism of Trump's administration.
A member of the House of Foreign Affairs Committee, Representative Ted Lieu, said in a Twitter message that if found to be accurate, the actions are outrageous misconduct by Russia. Lieu also noted that Trump was risking the lives of American soldiers by ignoring the dangers and doing nothing to help them.
According to Express UK, the battle between the United States and the Taliban has been raging for nearly two decades, and the US government is looking to end the war with negotiations.
The encounters began in 2001 when a US coalition entered Afghanistan in the hopes of demolishing Al-Qaeda and cutting away the power of the Taliban. The United Kingdom was considered to be a key ally of the United States during the times.
The initial invasion followed a civil war that previously raged within the country that pitted the Taliban against the North Alliance groups.