US Intelligence agencies have established that Iran had paid bounties to Taliban for targeting American troops and coalition troops stationed in Afghanistan with payments being linked to at least six attacks carried out by the militant group in last year. The suicide bombing in December at US air base is one such attack whose payment has been linked to the said source.
As identified to the CNN, the bounties were paid by a foreign government to the Haqqani network, a terrorist group which is operated by second highest ranked leader of Taliban. The payment was supposedly made for attack on Bagram Air Base on December 11. According to Pentagon, 2 civilians were killed and over 70 were injured in the attack, including 4 US personnel. The name of ‘foreign government’ remains classified but sources to CNN reveal it to be Iran.
Post the Bagram attack, US killed an important Iranian general in Iraq, about a month after the air base attack. This was after long studies and planning of the attack and also analysis of associations of Iranian government with Taliban and other militant groups in Afghanistan. The decision to not proceed was however taken in March so as to not hamper the ongoing peace talks with the Taliban.
The revelation of Iran paying bounties to Taliban comes after initial speculation of Russia paying bounties to Taliban for attacking American and coalition troops in Afghanistan, the allegations that were rejected by the President Donald Trump and his administration. Russia too had denied the allegations.
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