US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a press conference in the State Department on April 29, 2020, in Washington, DC.
Andrew Harnik | AFP | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – The nation’s top diplomat warned the main Taliban negotiator during a video conference call not to attack American citizens amid reports that a Russian military intelligence unit was offering gifts to Taliban-related fighters for the death of American soldiers .
Pompeo’s conversation comes in the wake of an explosive New York Times report that Russia paid the Taliban’s cash prizes to hit and kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The Times reported Monday evening that Trump had received a written intelligence briefing in February and The Associated Press reported that the White House was aware of the issue in early 2019.
“The secretary has clarified the expectation that the Taliban will honor their commitments, including not attacking the Americans,” State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement on Tuesday.
Read more: Mothers of military children killed in Afghanistan want to probe Russian death presents
In a statement released just before midnight, the Pentagon said Monday that intelligence regarding the gifts has not been confirmed.
“The Department of Defense continues to evaluate intelligence that Russian GRU agents were engaged in malicious activities against the United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan. To date, DOD has no corroborating evidence to validate the recent allegations found in the reports. open source, “Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.
“Regardless, we always take the safety and security of our forces in Afghanistan – and around the world – very seriously and therefore continuously take measures to prevent damage from potential threats,” added Hoffman.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Tuesday that President Donald Trump was not informed on the matter because the allegations had not been verified by the intelligence community.