• publish: 8 July 2020
  • time: 11:08 am
  • category: Politics
  • No: 14290
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Top US general:

I am not convinced Russian bounties led to death of troops in Afghanistan

A top US general said on Tuesday he was not convinced any Russian bounties resulted in the deaths of American troops in Afghanistan.

The comments come after reports said that US intelligence believed that a Russian military unit paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill US and other coalition forces in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon has previously said that it had “no corroborating evidence” to validate the accusations, which Moscow denies.

“I’m very familiar with this material and I’m a theater commander and I’ve had an opportunity to look at it. I found it very worrisome. I just didn’t find that there was a causative link there,” Marine General Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, told reporters.

Asked on whether he believed Russian payments led to US deaths, McKenzie said: “No, I’m not convinced of that. I’m just not.”

He added that battlefield intelligence was often inconclusive.

“But in this case, there just wasn’t enough there,” McKenzie said.

“I sent the intelligence guys back to continue to dig on it. And I believe they’re continuing to dig right now.”

The US military has previously accused Russia of possibly providing support, including weapons, to elements of the Taliban. McKenzie noted that Russians were “not our friends in Afghanistan and they do not wish us well.”

But he also noted that whether the Russians were paying them or not, “the Taliban have done their level best to carry out operations against us.”

“So nothing has practically changed on the ground in terms of force protection, because we have a very high force protection standard now,” he said.

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