“That intelligence has not been proven to me. It has proven to be enough to worry me. It is not enough to prove that I will take it to court. That is often true in battlefield intelligence,” General Frank McKenzie, the US Central Command Commander, told a small group of reporters while traveling to the region, according to the transcript provided by the Department of Defense.
Russian intelligence officers for GRU, a military intelligence unit, offered money to Taliban militants in Afghanistan as a reward if they killed US or British troops there, a European intelligence official told CNN last month.
The official was unclear about Russia’s precise motivation, but said incentives, in their judgment, caused coalition victims. The official did not specify the date of the victim, their number or nationality, or whether this was a casualty or injury.
McKenzie said Tuesday, “I am very familiar with this material, and I am a theater commander and I have the opportunity to see it. I feel very worried.”
“I just did not find that there was a causal relationship there. It worried me, and we took steps to protect extreme forces all the time in Afghanistan,” McKenzie said, adding that he was not convinced that Russia’s gift program was directly responsible for death US personnel.
“You see many indicators. Many of them are troubled; many of them are following up on you. But in this case, there aren’t enough of them there. I sent intelligence back to continue to dig it. And I believe they continue to dig now. , “he added.
Trump tweeted last month that “there were not many attacks” on US troops by Taliban fighters as proof that reported intelligence might be “fake.”
McKenzie warned Tuesday that the US “must always remember, Russia is not our friend. They are not our friends. And they are not our friends in Afghanistan. And they don’t expect us to be okay.”
“And we just need to remember that all the time when we evaluate that intelligence.”