The New York Times has alleged that Russia offered bounties to Afghan militants for killing US forces in the country. But Moscow said it was fabricated by the US intelligence agencies as a cover for their nefarious drug-running activities in Afghanistan.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry told TASS on Saturday: “We have paid attention to another piece of fake news, launched in the media space by the American intelligence community, about alleged involvement of Russia’s military intelligence unit in contract killings of US troops in Afghanistan. That unpretentious fake clearly demonstrates low intellectual abilities of US intelligence propagandists who have to invent such nonsense instead of devising something more credible. Nevertheless, what else could be expected from the intelligence agency that has failed miserably in the 20-year-long war in Afghanistan.”
The foreign ministry then added: “Should we speak about facts – moreover, well-known [facts], it has not long been a secret in Afghanistan that members of the US intelligence community are involved in drug trafficking, cash payments to militants for letting transport convoys pass through, kickbacks from contracts implementing various projects paid by American taxpayers. The list of their actions can be continued if you want.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry suggested that those actions might stem from the fact that the US intelligence agencies “do not like that our and their diplomats have teamed up to facilitate the start of peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban”.
Russian talks with the Taliban – although outlawed in Russia – has been an great advantage since they are the main challengers to the international terrorist organization of ISIS. Also, the Taliban have actively been fighting the drug trade, of great concern to Moscow, since it is the most sought-after market by traffickers. In 2000, the Taliban imposed a ban on the cultivation of opium poppies, from which heroin is produced.
Russia has been seeking a peaceful solution to the situation in Afghanistan. If a drug conflict were to break out, Russia would suffer the consequences.
“We can understand their feelings as they do not want to be deprived of the above mentioned sources of the off-the-books income,” the Russian ministry stressed.
On Friday, the New York Times published an hit piece against Russia claiming that a Russian military intelligence unit allegedly secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing US troops in Afghanistan. The White House was never informed of this matter because the higher command did not find the report credible at the time.