“If the Russians offer money to kill Americans or, for that matter, other Westerners as well, there will be a huge price to pay. This is what I shared with Foreign Minister Lavrov, ”Pompeo said, according to a State Department transcript.
“I know our military have also spoken to their senior leadership. We will not tolerate this. We will not tolerate this, ”he added.
But Pompeo did not respond directly to a question of whether he found the threat credible, after President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen’s book accuses Trump of corruption and fraud Trump calls for postal vote for Florida congressional primaries MORE dismissed the reports as “fake news”.
“We made it clear that we know the story; we know the Russians have armed the Taliban in the past, that’s right, ”he replied. “We know that the Iranians continue to arm them today. So we know these facts. We have made our expectations clear to each of them and we will do whatever we need to do to protect and defend every American soldier and, for that matter, every soldier in the Czech Republic or any other country that is part of the [mission in Afghanistan.] »
The New York Times reported in June, that a Russian military unit offered rewards to militants linked to the Taliban in Afghanistan for killing coalition forces, including US troops, in the country.
The Times also reported earlier this month that Pompeo gave a warning to Lavrov on a July 13 premium appeal. People knowledgeable about the matter told the newspaper that the Secretary of State viewed the matter as speculative when citing CIA intelligence on bonuses.
Pompeo had told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month that the State Department had warned Russia of the alleged bounties.
The White House said it had not taken action on the intelligence because officials did not consider it credible enough to be shared with the president, although it was included in its February written brief.