Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said that he had been previously briefed about intelligence concerning Russia offering bounty to Taliban to kill American troops. The confirmation came during an interview on Thursday, July 9.

Pentagon Chief’s confirmation is a kind of a acknowledgement that Russia’s involvement with Taliban in Afghanistan is not a “hoax” afterall, that the U.S. President Donald Trump has always claimed since the news has become public.

Trump has always claimed that the news that Russia paid to Taliband to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan is a fake news and that he did not have any intelligence about it ever.

However, evidence suggests that he may have been aware of it all this time and still decided to do nothing about it. In fact, he has praised Russia and the country President Vladimir Putin publicly many times in the past.

During the briefing, Esper , however, said that he has not seen evidence for intelligence that any of the American troops were killed due to Russian bounty to Taliban in Afghanistan. By his ocmments, we walked a thin line by acknowledging the intel and denying the availability of any evidence,

Esper’s comments were made during his appearance in front of the House Armed Services Committee, along side Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. This was their first appearance to confirm reports of intelligence received concerning the matter.

By their answers it can be easily concluded that both of them were highly cautious while navigating through questions put forward by the lawkers. But Esper was particularly cautious about answering questions concerning whether they had been briefed about the matter and when.

D uring the appearance, Esper said that he did get to know about the intelligence abount Russia offering bounty payments in February 2020. However, he said that the top generals did not believe it as the reported were not credible at the time.

This is contrary to previous comments by one of the commanders who said that the intelligence was “very worrisome.”

Taliban Fighters Taliban militants hand over their weapons after joining the Afghan government's reconciliation and reintegration program, in Herat province May 14, 2012. REUTERS/Mohammad Shoiab