Publish dateTuesday 7 July 2020 - 10:58
Story Code : 213933
Pompeo Asked to Speak at House Committee Over Russia Bounty Claim
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been invited to appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss allegations over Russia-offered bounties to Taliban-backed militants to kill US troops in Afghanistan, the Hill reported.
The report said that the hearing is set to take place on Thursday. It is titled “Russian Bounties on US Troops: Why Hasn’t the Administration Responded?”
Pompeo is listed as “invited” to the hearing. The State Department and the House committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether he had confirmed he would attend, according to the report.
Following reports in the New York Times that US intelligence monitored electronic data showing large financial transfers from a bank account controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency to a Taliban-linked account, a source on Thursday confirmed to TOLOnews that the man who controls the transaction is named Rahmat Sia and he is the owner of a construction company.
Rahmatullah Azizi is his given name, but he is known as Rahmat Sia. He lives in Russia.
According to the source, Rahmatullah’s brother, his driver, his cousin and a Forex dealer have been arrested by the Afghan security forces in PD4 of Kabul city.
The New York Times article said: “Afghan officials this week described a sequence of events that dovetailed with the account of the intelligence. They said that several businessmen who transfer money through the informal “hawala” system were arrested in Afghanistan over the past six months and were suspected of being part of a ring of middlemen who operated between the Russian intelligence agency, known as the G.R.U., and Taliban-linked militants. The businessmen were arrested in what the officials described as sweeping raids in the north of Afghanistan as well as in Kabul.”
“The Taliban are getting help from across the border and also from the regional intelligence,” said Rabbani Rabbani, a member of the provincial council in Kunduz, a province in the north.
According to the New York Times, the security forces seized $500,000 million during an operation at the house of Rahmatullah in Kunduz province.
The New York Times also said that Rahmatullah changed from a small drug smuggler to a contractor and businessman.
“There was a war in Afghanistan for years when the Russians were ruling here, the Americans were doing the same thing. Now, we can't reject that Russia is doing the same thing against the Americans,” said Shah Khan Sherzad, a lawmaker from Kunduz.
Local residents in the area in Kunduz have said that no one is living in the four-story building that belongs to Rahmatullah after the military operation.
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday, in remarks to the press on the reports of Russian bounties for Taliban fighters who kill Americans, said: "The fact that the Russians are engaged in Afghanistan in a way that's adverse to the United States is nothing new."
“Some members of Congress who are out there today suggesting that they are shocked and appalled by this, they saw the same intelligence that we saw. So it would be interesting to ask them what they did when they saw whatever intelligence it is that they are referring to,” Pompeo said.
“They would have had access to this information as well – not just the intelligence committees, by the way – even more broadly than that,” he said.
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