Joe Biden, the US Democratic presidential nominee, on Wednesday criticized President Donald Trump for not taking action over the reported Russia bounties to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan.
"Think about what's going on right now. Here we have a president of the United States who's dealing with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin in a way that he, in fact, is,” said Biden, adding that “We know he's...we've learned overwhelmingly that he is out there not doing a damn thing about the fact that there's overwhelming evidence that Putin has gone and he's paying significant bounties to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan.”
“If my son were still alive after having spent a year in Iraq, I don't know what the hell I would do. How all those parents feel, all you who served feel,” he said.
The US Central Command head Gen. Frank McKenzie on Tuesday said he believes there were no US troop deaths as a result of reported Russian efforts to pay Taliban militants to kill US troops in Afghanistan, The Hill reported.
“I found it very worrisome. I didn’t find that there was a causative link there,” McKenzie told reporters in telephone interview, according to The Associated Press.
McKenzie, the top US general for the Middle East, said the Defense Department did not increase its defenses in Afghanistan after the reported information emerged, but said he asked his intelligence staff to look into the matter.
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been invited to appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss allegations over Russia-offered bounties to Taliban-backed militants to kill US troops in Afghanistan, the Hill reported on Sunday.
The report said that the hearing is set to take place on Thursday. It is titled “Russian Bounties on US Troops: Why Hasn’t the Administration Responded?”
The State Department and the House committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether Pompeo had confirmed he would attend, according to the report.
Following reports in the New York Times that US intelligence monitored electronic data showing large financial transfers from a bank account controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency to a Taliban-linked account, a source on Thursday confirmed to TOLOnews that the man who controls the transaction is named Rahmat Sia and he is the owner of a construction company.
Rahmatullah Azizi is his given name, but he is known as Rahmat Sia. He lives in Russia.
According to the source, Rahmatullah’s brother, his driver, his cousin and a Forex dealer have been arrested by the Afghan security forces in PD4 of Kabul city.
The New York Times article said: “Afghan officials this week described a sequence of events that dovetailed with the account of the intelligence. They said that several businessmen who transfer money through the informal “hawala” system were arrested in Afghanistan over the past six months and were suspected of being part of a ring of middlemen who operated between the Russian intelligence agency, known as the G.R.U., and Taliban-linked militants.'
The businessmen were arrested in what the officials described as sweeping raids in the north of Afghanistan as well as in Kabul.
“The Taliban are getting help from across the border and also from regional intelligence,” said Rabbani Rabbani, a member of the provincial council in Kunduz, a province in the north.
According to the New York Times, the security forces seized $500,000 million during an operation at the house of Rahmatullah in Kunduz province.
The New York Times also said that Rahmatullah started as a small drug smuggler to become a contractor and businessman.