Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden attacked President Donald Trump over a report that he said, if true, contains a “truly shocking revelation” about the commander in chief and his failure to protect US troops in Afghanistan and stand up to Russia.

The New York Times reported on Friday that American intelligence officials concluded months ago that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered rewards to Taliban-linked armed fighters for killing American troops in Afghanistan.

The report said the Russians offered rewards for successful attacks last year, at a time when the US and Taliban were holding talks to end the long-running war. 

The report was also confirmed by The Washington Post.

“The truly shocking revelation that if the Times report is true, and I emphasise that again, is that President Trump, the commander in chief of American troops serving in a dangerous theatre of war, has known about this for months, according to the Times, and done worse than nothing,” Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, said during a virtual town hall.

Biden, a former vice president for eight years, pledged retaliation if he becomes president.

“If I’m elected president, make no mistake about it, Vladimir Putin will be confronted and we’ll impose serious costs on Russia,” Biden said.

The White House said neither Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence was briefed on such intelligence.

“This does not speak to the merit of the alleged intelligence but to the inaccuracy of the New York Times story erroneously suggesting that President Trump was briefed on this matter,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.

Russia called the report “nonsense”.

“This unsophisticated plant clearly illustrates the low intellectual abilities of the propagandists of American intelligence, who instead of inventing something more plausible have to make up this nonsense,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The Times quoted a Taliban spokesman denying that its fighters have such a deal with the Russian intelligence agency.

The newspaper, citing unnamed officials familiar with the intelligence, said the findings were presented to Trump and discussed by his National Security Council in late March.

Officials developed potential responses, starting with a diplomatic complaint to Russia, but the White House has yet to authorise any step, the report said.

Biden slammed Trump for his reported failure to act.

“Not only has he failed to sanction and impose any kind of consequences on Russia for this egregious violation of international law, Donald Trump has continued his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin,” the former vice president said.

Biden called it a “betrayal of the most sacred duty we bear as a nation – to protect and equip our troops when we send them into harm’s way”.

He said Americans who serve in the military put their life on the line. “But they should never, never, never ever face a threat like this with their commander in chief turning a blind eye to a foreign power putting a bounty on their heads,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Four weeks of Italy’s lockdown, behind four apartment doors

ONE-BEDROOM APARTMENT, ROME — One day, in what passed for the main activity, he vacuumed. Another day, he dusted the bookshelves. On yet another, with the rain falling, he felt especially sad and stayed in bed until 11 a.m. This…

Indonesia taskforce sees May-June coronavirus peak of 95,000 cases

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia expects the number of coronavirus cases to peak between May and June with around 95,000 infections, a government adviser said on Thursday, marking an official admission of the growing scale of the outbreak in the Southeast…

We need to talk about miscarriage – and the language we use really matters

You know something is wrong when they pause and say: “I am just going to get a colleague.” It was a 20-week scan. The baby was dead. They thought it had possibly died a couple of weeks earlier, and sent…

The pandemic has left Trump floundering – so why have his ratings gone up?

Just a few weeks ago, I was confident that Donald Trump’s days in the White House were numbered. The economy was tanking; coronavirus cases were soaring. And what was the president doing? Calling the coronavirus a “hoax” and mindlessly tweeting.…