Top US normal says Russian bounty intelligence ‘wasn’t proved’ however ‘proved sufficient to fret me’

Trump administration finalizing plan to withdraw 4,000 troops from Afghanistan

“The intelligence wasn’t proved to me. It was proved enough to worry me. It wasn’t proved enough that I’d take it to a court of law. That’s often true in battlefield intelligence,” Gen. Frank McKenzie, the commander of US Central Command, informed a small group of reporters whereas touring to the area, in keeping with a transcript supplied by the Defense Department.

His feedback mark the primary time a Pentagon official has answered questions on the US intelligence that assessed there was an effort by a Russian navy intelligence unit to pay the Taliban to kill US troopers.

Russian intelligence officers for the GRU, a navy intelligence unit, supplied cash to Taliban militants in Afghanistan as a reward in the event that they killed US or British troops there, a European intelligence official informed Source final month.

The official was unclear as to the exact Russian motivation, however mentioned the incentives had, of their evaluation, led to coalition casualties. The official didn’t specify the date of the casualties, their quantity or nationality, or whether or not these had been fatalities or accidents.

McKenzie mentioned Tuesday, “I’m very familiar with this material, and I’m a theater commander and I’ve had an opportunity to look at it. I found it very worrisome.”

“I just didn’t find that there was a causative link there. It worried me, and we take extreme force protection measures all the time in Afghanistan,” McKenzie mentioned, including that he was not satisfied that the Russian bounty program was straight answerable for the deaths of US personnel.

“You see a lot of indicators. Many of them are troubling; many of them you act on. But in this case, there just wasn’t enough there. I sent the intelligence guys back to continue to dig on it. And I believe they’re continuing to dig right now,” he added.

The normal’s feedback come as President Donald Trump continues to cast doubt on the intelligence, referring to it lately as a hoax.

Trump tweeted final month that “there have not been many attacks” on US troops by Taliban fighters as his proof that the reported intelligence could also be “phony.”

McKenzie cautioned Tuesday that the US “should always remember, the Russians are not our friends. They are not our friends. And they are not our friends in Afghanistan. And they do not wish us well.”

“And we just need to remember that at all times when we evaluate that intelligence.”

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