World War 3: US fury as Iran ‘pays bounties to Taliban’ for American soldier deaths

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US intelligence agencies identified six attacks last year carried out by the Taliban that may have been encouraged with money from Tehran. Last December a suicide bomb attack on Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan that killed two civilians and injured more than 70 others was sponsored by Iran. The US has moved to counter Iran’s covert operations in Afghanistan.

Washington ordered a drone strike on a Baghdad airport soon after the suicide attack on Bagram Air Base, killing Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.

There have also been allegations that Russia has paid bounties for Taliban attacks on US targets.

However, the Kremlin has denied the claim, and US president Donald Trump does not give them credence..

Bagram Air Base is the largest US military compound in Afghanistan.

On the day of the attack, 10 Taliban militants were involved and used a vehicle primed with high explosive improvised devices.

The US has said the attack would have seen Iran reimburse their Taliban contacts.

A Pentagon document said they concluded a bounty was involved “based on the nature of the attack and agreed upon bounties”.

The Pentagon document also noted the attack on the airbase at Bagram “probably incentivises future high-profile attacks on US and Coalition forces”.

Speaking to CNN, Pentagon spokesman Army Major Rob Lodewick said: “The Department of Defense does not disclose timelines or discussions surrounding internal deliberations and intelligence briefings.

“The administration has repeatedly demanded, both publicly and privately, that Iran cease its scourge of malign and destabilising behavior throughout the Middle East and the world.

“While the United States, its NATO allies and coalition partners are working to facilitate an end to 19 years of bloodshed, Iran’s inimical influence seeks to undermine the Afghan peace process and foster a continuation of violence and instability.”

A US military source spoke about the relationship between Iran and elements in the Taliban that are trying to derail the current peace negotiations between the US, Afghan government, and the Taliban.


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The source told CNN: “The object of concern was the relationship because it seemed like one that in any other year would have merited pretty concerted action.

“The overarching element to all of this has been the prioritisation of the peace deal with the Taliban and that, even going back to December 2019, was a well-known priority in terms of what the US response would be to a potential incentivised attack backed by a foreign government.

“On the peace agreement, prior to its publication and even following its publication, it was astonishing the degree to which the Department of State and special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation were in the lead as opposed to the national security council staff.”

The source added: “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.”

Iran has also used proxies to attack US forces in Iraq.

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