The late June ‘Russian bounties in Afghanistan’ story lasted no longer than a mere week considered that a few of the very publications pressing it were required to stroll it back based on not just crucial claims not bearing out, but a multitude of top intel officials and Pentagon generals saying it was baseless.
And then like many other ‘Russiagate’- inspired stories (in this case Trump was accused of basically ‘looking the other method’ while Russians allegedly paid the Taliban to eliminate US troops), it was memory-holed.
However this obviously hasn’t stopped the State Department or the Pentagon from using it as leverage while speaking with the Russians. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned his counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, that ” there will be an enormous price to pay” if the Kremlin did indeed pay Afghan fighters to attack Americans or other Westerners
Pompeo revealed the warning in an interview with Radio Free Europe on Wednesday:
” That’s what I shared with Foreign Minister [Sergey] Lavrov,” Pompeo stated. ” I understand our armed force has talked with their senior leaders too. We won’t brook that; we will not tolerate that.”
Russia has of course, rejected participation in any such operation, which numerous analysts have actually pointed out would carry major threat of stoking military dispute with the United States but with little positive gain in the region.
Pompeo also said in the interview: “We will do everything we require to do to secure and protect every American soldier and, for that matter, every soldier from the Czech Republic or any other country that becomes part of the Resolute Assistance Mission to ensure that they’re safe.”
Importantly, it marks the first time any US official has actually brought up the Russian bounties story with a Kremlin officials
Trump has gone so far as to all it a “scam”.
Or at the same time, it might be that Pompeo is simply plain weakening Trump on this one.
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