Tag: Taliban

New Administration Memo Seeks to Foster Doubts About Suspected Russian Bounties

A memo produced in recent days by the office of the nation’s top intelligence official acknowledged that the C.I.A. and top counterterrorism officials have assessed that Russia appears to have offered bounties to kill American and coalition troops in Afghanistan, but emphasized uncertainties and gaps in evidence, according to three officials. The memo is said […]

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Bounties Uproar Casts a Shadow Over a Rare Trump Foreign Policy Achievement

For a president with few tangible foreign policy accomplishments under his belt, Afghanistan had come to look something like a bright spot. His nuclear talks with North Korea have proved fruitless; his “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran has produced no concessions from Tehran; Palestinians declared his Middle East peace plan dead on arrival; and a […]

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Afghan Contractor Handed Out Russian Cash to Kill Americans, Officials Say

KABUL, Afghanistan — He was a lowly drug smuggler, neighbors and relatives say, then ventured into contracting, seeking a slice of the billions of dollars the U.S.-led coalition was funneling into construction projects in Afghanistan. But he really began to show off his wealth in recent years, after establishing a base in Russia, though how […]

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White House Dismisses Reports of Bounties, but Is Silent on Russia

First President Trump denied knowing about it. Then he called it a possible “hoax.” Next, the White House attacked the news media. And now an unnamed intelligence official is to blame. The one thing Mr. Trump and his top officials have not done is to address the substance of intelligence reports that Russia paid bounties […]

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Trump’s New Russia Problem: Unread Intelligence and Missing Strategy

The intelligence finding that Russia was most likely paying a bounty for the lives of American soldiers in Afghanistan has evoked a strange silence from President Trump and his top national security officials. He insists he never saw the intelligence, though it was part of the President’s Daily Brief just days before a peace deal […]

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Data on Financial Transfers Bolstered Suspicions That Russia Offered Bounties

American officials intercepted electronic data showing large financial transfers from a bank account controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency to a Taliban-linked account, which was among the evidence that supported their conclusion that Russia covertly offered bounties for killing U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, according to three officials familiar with the intelligence. Though the […]

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Trump Was Briefed on Russian Bounties, So Why Is Everyone Lying?

Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty Images) Trump knew. Everyone in the White House knows he knew. But the company line is to protect the president, so everyone in the White House is lying. It’s kind of the White House’s thing. Advertisement According to CNBC, President Donald Trump and everyone in the White House that is privy […]

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Trump Got Written Briefing in February on Possible Russian Bounties, Officials Say

American officials provided a written briefing in late February to President Trump laying out their conclusion that a Russian military intelligence unit offered and paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, two officials familiar with the matter said. The investigation into the suspected Russian covert operation to incentivize such […]

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Lawmakers Press for Answers on Russian Bounty Offers to Taliban to Kill U.S. Troops

Democrats and Republicans in Congress demanded on Monday that American intelligence agencies promptly share with lawmakers what they know about a suspected Russian plot to pay bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan, and threatened to retaliate against the Kremlin. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic […]

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Trump Wants Us to Believe No One Told Him Russia Offered Bounties for Killing U.S. Troops in Afghanistan. Have I Told You That Trump Is a Liar?

Photo: David Dee Delgado (Getty Images) President Donald Trump would like America to believe that U.S. intelligence learned that a bounty had been placed on the heads of American troops in Afghanistan and no one told him. Advertisement No one sent him a strongly worded email. No one mimed it to him. No one called […]

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Another Young Leader Taken. Afghans Ask: How Many More?

KABUL, Afghanistan — Landing a job at Afghanistan’s human rights commission at age 24, Fatima Khalil had come a long way from being a refugee girl who almost did not make it at birth, with the midwife walking out before even cutting the umbilical cord. She spoke six languages, had a strong foundation in religious […]

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Spies and Commandos Warned Months Ago of Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops

WASHINGTON — United States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan alerted their superiors as early as January to a suspected Russian plot to pay bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan, according to officials briefed on the matter. The crucial information that led the spies and commandos to focus on […]

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Biden Criticizes Trump Over Intelligence on Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops

WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. assailed President Trump on Saturday for failing to punish Russia for offering bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan, while the White House denied that Mr. Trump had been briefed on the months-old classified intelligence assessment about Russia’s activities. Citing officials briefed on […]

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Afghan Deaths Pile Up in Uncertainty Over U.S. Deal With Taliban

KABUL, Afghanistan — Two employees of Afghanistan’s human rights commission were killed in Kabul on Saturday as a bomb attached to their vehicle exploded, the latest in a rising number of targeted killings in the Afghan capital. From assassinations of religious scholars and assaults against cultural figures to widespread Taliban attacks across the country, the […]

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

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 […]

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U.S. Troops in Afghanistan Reduced to 8,600, General Says

KABUL, Afghanistan — The United States has reduced the number of troops it has in Afghanistan to 8,600 in accordance with a preliminary peace deal with the Taliban, a top American general said on Thursday, even as other aspects of the plan to end the war have faced setbacks and delays. At the peak of […]

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Why Is Trump attacking the International Criminal Court?

THE HAGUE — In the United States and the wider world, seismic discussions are raging about the need to see justice done when fundamental human rights are violated. This is no time for any government to exert coercion against an international court that was created to do justice when there is nowhere else to turn […]

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How the Taliban Outlasted a Superpower: Tenacity and Carnage

ALINGAR, Afghanistan — Under the shade of a mulberry tree, near grave sites dotted with Taliban flags, a top insurgent military leader in eastern Afghanistan acknowledged that the group had suffered devastating losses from American strikes and government operations over the past decade. But those losses have changed little on the ground: The Taliban keep […]

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Afghan Sides Agree to a Rare Cease-Fire During Eid al-Fitr

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban and the Afghan government announced a cease-fire for the three days of the Muslim festival Eid al-Fitr, which starts on Sunday in Afghanistan, offering the war-torn nation a rare respite from violence that has been intensifying. The insurgents, in a statement late on Saturday, said they had instructed their fighters […]

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Afghan Rivals Sign Power-Sharing Deal as Political Crisis Subsides

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan’s monthslong election dispute, which resulted in a bizarre reality of two men taking the oath of office as president, reached a resolution on Sunday when President Ashraf Ghani gave his chief rival, Abdullah Abdullah, the leading role in the country’s peace process with the Taliban and a 50 percent share in […]

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A Rocket Attack. Two Narratives. This Is What Happened.

When 16 rockets were fired at a small American base in southern Afghanistan last fall, the Taliban trumpeted the attack as a blood bath, claiming they had killed “tens” of Americans. The U.S.-led mission in Kabul downplayed it. The insurgents were lying, an American military spokesman said on Twitter; there were no coalition casualties. The […]

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‘Hospital Needs to Be Quarantined,’ but Works On in Country at War

Now, about 70 doctors and nurses out of a staff of 361 at Kunduz Regional Hospital — the main health facility for several restive provinces in northeastern Afghanistan — are either infected with the coronavirus or in quarantine on suspicion of infection. Yet there is no choice but to keep the doors open, said Dr. […]

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Afghanistan May Soon Have Peace. And the Cost Is Democracy.

On a sunny day last July, thick fumes poured into the sky over Shahid Square in central Kabul. Half a dozen gunmen stormed up a building into the office of Afghanistan’s former intelligence chief, Amrullah Saleh. No stranger to attempts on his life, Saleh managed to escape through the roof, but the ensuing firefight between […]

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Taliban Ramp Up Attacks Even as Coronavirus Spreads in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban have returned to an all-out offensive on the battlefield, killing dozens of Afghan security forces each day, officials say, even as American officials try to keep alive a scuttled peace deal to end the long war in Afghanistan. The insurgents have ignored appeals for a cease-fire on humanitarian grounds as […]

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To Save Afghan Peace Deal, U.S. May Scale Back C.I.A. Presence

WASHINGTON — The United States is considering pulling back front-line C.I.A. personnel from bases in Afghanistan, according to U.S. officials, as part of the American government’s effort to further reduce violence in the country in the wake of its landmark peace agreement with the Taliban. The deliberations over the C.I.A. presence in the country are […]

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What Is Missing From Afghan Peace Talks

PANJSHIR VALLEY, Afghanistan — After four decades of conflict, Afghanistan seems poised to embrace superficial peace. The negotiations between the United States and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, culminated in a peace agreement between the two sides. The agreement paved the way for a national peace dialogue between the Taliban and a conglomerate of Afghan […]

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In Kabul’s Heart, Soviet Towers Harbor Decades of Tales

KABUL, Afghanistan — The scars from four decades of war are etched into the boxy apartment towers known as Macroyan Kohna, a dreary neighborhood built by the Soviets in central Kabul a half-century ago as a testament to modernity. Like other parts of the Afghan capital, Macroyan Kohna has been pummeled by rockets, mortar shells […]

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‘I Didn’t Know Whether to Mourn or to Celebrate’: An Afghan Reporter’s Girlhood Education

Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together. KABUL, Afghanistan — Last spring I visited the Rustam School in a remote corner of the Yakawlang District in central Afghanistan’s Bamiyan Province. While the country’s longest war was continuing to destroy lives in other […]

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Taliban Attack Afghanistan Amid Growing Coronavirus Threat

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban on Saturday attacked several provinces in northern Afghanistan, overrunning large parts of one district even as American diplomats expressed optimism that a peace process stalled over the release of prisoners was getting back on track. The insurgents launched major assaults in three northern province — in Kunduz, whose capital was […]

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For Afghanistan Already on Brink, U.S. Aid Cut Is a Big Shove

KABUL, Afghanistan — As President Trump repeatedly expressed fatigue with the long Afghan war, the concern among leaders in Kabul was not that the United States would pull American troops out of Afghanistan but that it would cut crucial funding. On Tuesday, a day after frustrated American officials announced $1 billion in immediate aid reductions […]

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