2020-08-13 › Iran continues to arm Taliban: Pompeo
Iran continues to arm the Taliban in Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday.
In an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Pompeo also said that the Russians have armed the Taliban in the past.
The comments come as Afghan government and the Taliban are on the verge of peace talks which are expected to begin in Doha.
Last month, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad blamed Iran for not properly supporting the Afghan peace process.
"Iran has not been as supportive as it should be in the effort to get to Intra-Afghan negotiations and an Afghan settlement largely due to our relations with them,” Khalilzad said.
In the interview, Pompeo said that he warned his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that there would be “an enormous price to pay” if Moscow is offering bounties to kill US soldiers or other Western troops in Afghanistan.
The New York Times in June reported that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including American troops, citing US intelligence officials.
President Donald Trump said he was not told about the information because many US intelligence officials doubted its veracity, although several US and European sources contradicted his comments.
Pompeo declined to say whether he believed the intelligence was credible or if he thought Trump should have been briefed, but said Washington would not put up with such behavior.
"If the Russians are offering money to kill Americans, or for that matter other Westerns as well, there will be an enormous price to pay. That's what I shared with foreign minister Lavrov," Pompeo said in the interview, conducted during his official visit to the Czech Republic.
"I know our military has talked to their senior leaders as well. We won't brook that, we won't tolerate," Pompeo said.
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