Day 1,254: Report: Russians have put bounties on American soldiers’ heads. Trump has done nothing about it.

2 min readJun 27, 2020

A Russian military unit has been offering bounties to Taliban-linked fighters if they kill Americans or other NATO troops in Afghanistan, according to a report in The New York Times.

The United States concluded months ago that the Russian unit, which has been linked to assassination attempts and other covert operations in Europe intended to destabilize the West or take revenge on turncoats, had covertly offered rewards for successful attacks last year.

Islamist militants, or armed criminal elements closely associated with them, are believed to have collected some bounty money, the officials said. Twenty Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2019, but it was not clear which killings were under suspicion.

Trump was briefed about the issue in March and has been presented with a multitude of options since. Those include the simple, such as demanding Moscow stop, to the more complex, such as economic sanctions. To date, Trump has done nothing, other than kowtowing toward Russia, something he has done since his inauguration.

At a summit in Helsinki in 2018, Mr. Trump strongly suggested that he believed Mr. Putin’s denial that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 presidential election, despite broad agreement within the American intelligence establishment that it did. Mr. Trump criticized a bill imposing sanctions on Russia when he signed it into law after Congress passed it by veto-proof majorities. And he has repeatedly made statements that undermined the NATO alliance as a bulwark against Russian aggression in Europe.

More recently, even after finding out about Moscow’s bounty scandal, Trump has tried to be more accommodating and rewarding to Russia, by inviting Vladimir Putin to join the G7 summit.

American soldiers are in Taliban-linked fighters’ crosshairs for cash as part of a one-sided proxy war with Russia. Trump’s only decision has been to try and placate Vladimir Putin, while not taking a single responsive, much less retaliative, action.

1,254 days in, 208 to go

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