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More New York Times Fake News: Russia Allegedly Paying Militants in Afghanistan To Kill U.S. Troops

June 27, 2020 (EIRNS)—The New York Times retailed a new anti-Russia narrative yesterday with a report claiming that U.S. intelligence has assessed that a secret Russian military intelligence team is “probably” paying militants and criminals in Afghanistan to assassinate U.S. troops. The article is headlined “Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says,” but it’s filled with qualifiers suggesting that the evidence is a lot less than solid.

The piece will no doubt be waved like a bloody shirt by the Russophobic never-Trumpers to further accuse Trump of being in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s pocket, especially the statement in the article that Trump was offered a series of options as to how to respond to this alleged Russian activity but failed to act on any of them. It seems, however, that no deaths of U.S. troops could actually be linked to this alleged Russian operation. The Times admits, in fact, that no U.S. troops have been killed in Taliban attacks since February, about the time of the U.S.-Taliban peace agreement was announced.

“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,” the Times breathlessly reports.

“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.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov refused to respond to the Times’s queries, saying that no such accusation has officially been brought to Moscow’s attention by the U.S., while a spokesman for the Taliban is quoted saying that they have no such relations with any foreign intelligence agency.

The rest of the Times piece is full of speculation about Russian military intelligence which is explicitly in line with official but unproven narratives about the Skripal poisoning case and supposed Russian interference in U.S. elections. The Times’ sources say that the alleged Afghan operation is linked to an element of the GRU called Unit 29155. “Western intelligence officials say the unit, which has operated for more than a decade, has been charged by the Kremlin with carrying out a campaign to destabilize the West through subversion, sabotage and assassination,” the Times claims.

The target of this operation by the Times comes at the end: “The disclosure comes at a time when Mr. Trump has said he would invite Mr. Putin to an expanded meeting of the Group of 7 nations, but tensions between American and Russian militaries are running high,” it said in reference to each side’s encounters with aircraft from the other side near its borders.

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement rejecting the Times report as “unsophisticated” fake news which reveals the amateurishness of U.S. intelligence agencies. “This unsophisticated plant clearly illustrates the low intellectual abilities of the propagandists from U.S. intelligence, who, instead of inventing something more plausible, resort to conjuring up such nonsense,” the ministry said. “Then again, what else can one expect from intelligence services that have bungled the 20-year war in Afghanistan.” Moscow has suggested that this misinformation was “planted” because the U.S. may be against Russia “assisting” in peace talks between the Taliban and the internationally-recognized government in Kabul, reported RT.

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