Russian bounty hunting: Trump's latest scandal | TheHill

Russian bounty hunting: Trump's latest scandal | TheHill

The Trump administration’s latest scandal is the revelation that the intelligence community briefed the president and the White House in March about Russian bounty hunting in Afghanistan. Moscow evidently was giving Taliban and other terrorists bounties for killing U.S., UK and other NATO soldiers. The scandal lies in the fact that since this briefing, evidently nothing has been done to punish Russia for this behavior. Making things worse are the revelations that the White House was briefed about this development in 2019. Predictably, President Trump and the White House claimed they never received this briefing or that, if they did, they were told it was not credible. Meanwhile, nobody has denied the veracity of the charge against Moscow, suggesting that these denials are, to say the least, hollow. Consequently, this affair cries out for explanation. First, this Russian resort to criminality in Afghanistan is not altogether unexpected. Indeed, brutality and criminality are inherent in Russia’s ways of war at home and abroad, as we have seen in Chechnya and Syria. Neither is bounty hunting a major escalation in the context of Russia’s policies in Afghanistan. Since 2013 Moscow has been sharing intelligence and running guns to the Taliban. Moscow has also provided material and financial support to Taliban leaders. Likewise, since 2018 when its private mercenaries, the Wagner Group, attacked U.S. forces in Syria and suffered heavy casualties, there has apparently been a sentiment of revenge among Russian forces seeking to get even with the U.S. Second, Russia in ...
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