(WASHINGTON) JUST IN: Bounties paid to #Taliban Haqqani Network fighters to target American and coalition troops in Afghanistan that has been linked to six attacks in 2019 foreign government that made these payments remains classified but two sources familiar with the intelligence confirmed to CNN that it refers to Iran #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Aug.18: US intelligence agencies assessed that Iran offered bounties to Taliban fighters for targeting American and coalition troops in Afghanistan, identifying payments linked to at least six attacks carried out by the militant group just last year alone, including a suicide bombing at a US air base in December, CNN has learned:

US intelligence indicates Iran paid bounties to Taliban for targeting American troops in Afghanistan CNN.Com/ has learned

“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 name of the foreign government that made these payments remains classified but two sources familiar with the intelligence confirmed to CNN that it refers to Iran:

The US killed a key Iranian general in Iraq less than a month after the Bagram attack but after a lengthy process involving several agencies to develop options aimed at countering Iran’s support for militant groups in Afghanistan: The decision was made in March not to take specific action as officials did not want to jeopardize the peace process with the Taliban, according to multiple sources familiar.
The revelation that Iran might have paid the Taliban follows the controversy over Russian bounties for attacks on American troops, an issue that has been consistently downplayed by the Trump administration in recent weeks: Russia has denied the allegation:
The lack of public condemnation of Iran or the Taliban and the decision not to pursue a diplomatic or military response also highlights the administration’s apparent desire to protect peace talks with the Taliban — which culminated in an agreement that was signed in February — at all costs with the goal of helping Trump fulfill his long-stated campaign promise of removing American troops from Afghanistan:

At the time of the December attack on Bagram, peace negotiations between the US and the Taliban were in a fragile state. Less than two weeks prior, Trump had announced during a surprise trip to Bagram that talks were going to resume after a months-long pause: A State Department spokesperson declined to answer questions about Iran’s purported role in the December 11 attack on Bagram but told CNN that Tehran’s “support to some elements of the Taliban has threatened to undermine the peace process in Afghanistan.”

“Iran has tried to use proxy groups to carry out the Iranian regime’s own nefarious agenda, and it would be a mistake for any faction of the Taliban to get entangled in Iran’s dirty work,” they added, noting that the Trump administration “remains committed to addressing the full range of threats Iran poses to the US and regional stability. ”

CNN’s Vivian Salama, Barbara Starr and Kylie Atwood contributed reporting

#AceNewsDesk report …………..Published: Aug.18: 2020:

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