MOSCOW, August 13./TASS/. The US failed to provide facts confirming alleged ties between Russian intelligence services and the Taliban movement even after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had requested this in a phone call with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Thursday.
"In a telephone conversation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the US secretary of state on July 13, the US side indeed raised the issue of alleged collusion of Russian intelligence services with the Taliban fighters whom they [Russian intelligence] allegedly incite to make sorties against US military in Afghanistan," Zakharova said.
"The Russian side’s answer was as follows - the Russian foreign minister described these statements as dishonest speculations having nothing to do with reality. He also asked the US side to produce evidence that Washington had on hands, which was not provided as usual," the diplomat stressed.
"Moreover, Sergey Lavrov emphasized that the Russian side was interested in the US presence in Afghanistan, among other things within the context of preventing militants from moving to Central Asian countries," she added.
The New York Times wrote on June 26 that a Russian military intelligence unit had offered bounties to Taliban militants to kill US troops in Afghanistan. "The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March, the officials said," the newspaper wrote.