US President Donald Trump on Thursday vowed to retaliate if other countries were found to have offered bounties for attacks on US troops in Afghanistan, Reuters reported.
But the US president gave no indication whether his stance toward US intelligence reports outlining the bounties had changed.
Speaking at a White House event alongside the Iraqi prime minister, Trump told reporters that if the reports were determined to be a fact, then “we would hit them so hard, your head would spin,” according to Reuters report.
Reports about Russian bounties paid by Moscow to the Taliban to kill US troops in Afghanistan emerged late in June. Russia denied the reports.
CNN this month reported that US intelligence had also indicated that Iran paid the Taliban bounties to target US troops in Afghanistan as well.
The Iranian embassy in Kabul rejected the report, and told TOLOnews that Iran doesn’t want its differences with the US to be brought to Afghanistan.
Back in July, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed that he had been briefed on information about Russian payments to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
He also made clear that he has not seen intelligence that corroborates claims that American troops were killed as a result of the “bounty” payments.
According to Reuters, Trump told Axios news outlet in late July that he did not raise the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their July 23 call.