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Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says

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Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says

The Trump administration has been deliberating for months about what to do about a stunning intelligence assessment.

WASHINGTON — American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter.

The United States concluded months ago that the Russian unit, which has been linked to assassination attempts and other covert operations in Europe intended to destabilize the West or take revenge on turncoats, had covertly offered rewards for successful attacks last year.

Islamist militants, or armed criminal elements closely associated with them, are believed to have collected some bounty money, the officials said. Twenty Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2019, but it was not clear which killings were under suspicion.

The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March, the officials said. Officials developed a menu of potential options — starting with making a diplomatic complaint to Moscow and a demand that it stop, along with an escalating series of sanctions and other possible responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step, the officials said.

An operation to incentivize the killing of American and other NATO troops would be a significant and provocative escalation of what American and Afghan officials have said is Russian support for the Taliban, and it would be the first time the Russian spy unit was known to have orchestrated attacks on Western troops.

Any involvement with the Taliban that resulted in the deaths of American troops would also be a huge escalation of Russia’s so-called hybrid war against the United States, a strategy of destabilizing adversaries through a combination of such tactics as cyberattacks, the spread of fake news and covert and deniable military operations.

The Kremlin had not been made aware of the accusations, said Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. “If someone makes them, we’ll respond,” Mr. Peskov said.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, denied that the insurgents have “any such relations with any intelligence agency” and called the report an attempt to defame them.

“These kinds of deals with the Russian intelligence agency are baseless — our target killings and assassinations were ongoing in years before, and we did it on our own resources,” he said. “That changed after our deal with the Americans, and their lives are secure and we don’t attack them.”

Source: New York Times

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Wike pulls out of reconciliation, blasts PDP leaders

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has lambasted some members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the People’s Democratic Party(PDP), calling them sycophants and tax collectors ‘who will never tell the truth’.

The governor on his Twitter page stated this after pulling out of the reconciliation efforts of the Edo State Chapter of the PDP ahead of its primary on Thursday.

Some PDP governorship aspirants in Edo State have vowed not to step down for Obaseki who recently defected to the party after he was disqualified by his former party, the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has lambasted some members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the People’s Democratic Party(PDP), calling them sycophants and tax collectors ‘who will never tell the truth’.

The governor on his Twitter page stated this after pulling out of the reconciliation efforts of the Edo State Chapter of the PDP ahead of its primary on Thursday.

Some PDP governorship aspirants in Edo State have vowed not to step down for Obaseki who recently defected to the party after he was disqualified by his former party, the All Progressives Congress, APC.

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Kenya charges police officer over teenager’s murder

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A court in Kenya on Tuesday charged a police officer with the murder of a 13-year-old boy in a Nairobi slum as authorities enforced a coronavirus curfew. 

Yassin Hussein Moyo was shot dead on the balcony of his home in March as police officers used force to clear the streets in the poor neighbourhood of Huruma.

His death came to illustrate the chaotic and sometimes violent enforcement of a night-time curfew by Kenyan police, who have been accused of murdering more than a dozen others since the coronavirus lockdown began in late March.

Police constable Patrick Ndiema was arraigned before a judge in Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi and charged with murdering the teenager.

He pleaded not guilty, and was ordered to remain in police custody until Wednesday when a judge will hear his bail application.

Earlier this month, the police oversight agency IPOA said at least 15 deaths had been “directly linked” to curfew enforcement. 

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused police officers of murder and using excess force, whippings and tear gas to violently force Kenyans indoors during the early days of the curfew.

Activists have seized the global groundswell against police brutality following George Floyd’s death in the United States to highlight Kenya’s own record on unlawful killings by law enforcement.

A small protest against police violence was held in June in Mathare, one of Nairobi’s bigger slums, which has rarely seen officers convicted for brutality.

AFP

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