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SEPTEMBER 2020

Iran Paid Taliban Bounties To Target US Soldiers In Afghanistan: CNN

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Iran Paid Taliban Bounties To Target US Soldiers In Afghanistan: CNN

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In a “shocking revelation” it turned out that Iran paid Taliban bounties to target US soldiers in Afghanistan, CNN reported on August 17th.

“’Bounties’ were paid by a foreign government, identified to CNN as Iran, to the Haqqani network — a terrorist group that is led by the second highest ranking leader of the Taliban — for their attack on Bagram Air Base on December 11, which killed two civilians and injured more than 70 others, including four US personnel, according to a Pentagon briefing document reviewed by CNN.”

The foreign government’s name remained classified, but CNN’s two unnamed sources said it was Iran.

The US assassinated Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani on January 3rd, 2020.

And he was killed less than a month after the Bagram attack. There was allegedly a “a lengthy process involving several agencies to develop options aimed at countering Iran’s support for militant groups in Afghanistan.” Then, in March, it was concluded not to allegedly do anything because negotiations with the Taliban had started.

The “revelation” that Iran allegedly paid bounties to Taliban to target US troops follows the exact same accusations that Russia paid bounties to Taliban to target US troops.

Both are also similar in that they make no sense, since they’re essentially paying the Taliban to do something they’re doing for free, regardless.

The Bagram attack was “highly sophisticated and rattled officials working on Afghanistan matters because it highlighted vulnerabilities of some of the American compounds, according to one source involved in the Taliban peace efforts.”

The Pentagon briefing document noted that a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (SVBIED) was used in the attack. Roughly 10 Taliban fighters engaged in a firefight with local security forces after the explosion and were ultimately killed by US airstrikes.

While US intelligence officials acknowledge that the Haqqani Network would not necessarily require payment in exchange for targeting American troops, the internal Pentagon document reviewed by CNN notes that the funding linked to the December 11 attack at Bagram “probably incentivizes future high-profile attacks on US and Coalition forces.”

The entire situation is quite puzzling, since official ideology of the abovementioned Haqqani network and the Taliban, as a whole, consider Iran as an ideological enemy, since Tehran represents a Shiite Republic, which is at war with Sunni fundamentalism. At the same time, it should be noted that all influential players in the region, including the US, China, Iran, Russia etc, keep some contacts with the Taliban. The US even holds direct negotiations with the group. Nonetheless, it would be quite strange if some third state decides to pay the Taliban for combating US-led forces in Afganistan – something what it does for free.

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