- Title: Biden calls Trump presidency a "Gift to Putin" with steep price
- Date: 27th June 2020
- Summary: VARIOUS OF SOLDIERS SALUTING IN FRONT OF SHRINE
- Embargoed: 11th July 2020 22:12
- Keywords: Afghanistan Biden Putin Taliban Trump
- Location: KABUL, NEAR SANGIN, ARGHANDAB DISTRICT, KANDAHAR PROVINCE,AFGHANISTAN; WILMINGTON, DELAWARE, UNITED STATES; HAMBURG, GERMANY, HELSINKI, FINLAND
- City: KABUL, NEAR SANGIN, ARGHANDAB DISTRICT, KANDAHAR PROVINCE,AFGHANISTAN; WILMINGTON, DELAWARE, UNITED STATES; HAMBURG, GERMANY, HELSINKI, FINLAND
- Country: USA
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA004CK5BBK7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said President Donald Trump "has continued his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin," in a "betrayal of the most sacred duty," following reports in the New York Times that U.S. intelligence has concluded that the Russian military offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants in Afghanistan to kill American troops and other coalition forces.
"Trump's entire presidency has been a gift to Putin, Biden said adding that if the report is accurate, "this is beyond the pale."
A Russian military intelligence unit linked to assassination attempts in Europe had offered rewards for successful attacks last year, according to the newspaper. It said Islamist militants, or armed criminal elements closely associated with them, are believed to have collected some bounty money.
"This primitive informational dump clearly demonstrates low intellectual abilities of the propagandists at the American intelligence service," Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement cited by the RIA news agency.
The White House, the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined requests from Reuters for comment on the newspaper report.
President Donald Trump has been briefed on the intelligence finding, the Times said. The White House has yet to authorize any steps against Russia in response to the bounties, it added.
Of the 20 Americans killed in combat in 2019, the Times said, it was not clear which deaths were under suspicion.
After nearly 20 years of fighting the Taliban, the U.S. is looking for a way to extricate itself from Afghanistan and to achieve peace between the U.S.-backed government and the militant group, which controls swathes of the country.
On Feb. 29, the U.S. and the Taliban struck a deal that called for a phased withdrawal of American troops.
U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan is down to nearly 8,600, well ahead of a schedule agreed with the Taliban, in part because of concerns about the spread of coronavirus, U.S. and NATO officials said in late May.
- Copyright Holder: FILE REUTERS (CAN SELL)
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2020. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None