Apr 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Intel officials have "low to moderate" confidence in reports of Russian bounties on U.S. troops

US troops resting on a rock in Afghanistan

U.S. troops near Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2014. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

U.S. intelligence officials have "low to moderate confidence" in reports that surfaced last year that Russia had offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan, according to The Guardian.

Why it matters: The news comes as the Biden administration unveiled a spate of sanctions against Russian officials and entities on Thursday. The bounty reports, however, were not a factor in the decision to pass sanctions.

The big picture: According to administration officials, the "low to moderate" rating is due to the fact that the bounty reports originated from "detainee reporting and because of the difficult operating environment in Afghanistan," per the Guardian.

The accompanying fact sheet the administration released regarding the sanctions notes that the administration is "responding" to the bounty reports, but that the issue will be dealt with through "diplomatic, military and intelligence channels."

What they're saying: "The safety and well-being of U.S. military personnel, and that of our allies and partners, is an absolute priority of the United States," the fact sheet states.

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