Last Friday, in an exclusive story, the New York Times reported that a Russian military intelligence unit had been offering bounties to militias linked to the Taliban for the killing of American and Coalition troops in Afghanistan. They did so in an attempt to derail the peace talks between the U.S and the Taliban.

At least since January, intelligence officials and Special Operations troops had informed their superiors about a potential link between Taliban attacks against U.S. and Coalition targets and Russia. According to U.S. intelligence officials cited in the report, the Russian unit is also behind attempts to destabilize Western values and institutions through hybrid warfare means.

The White House was aware of the above since at least March, according to the report. A series of measures had been discussed, ranging from diplomatic warnings to sanctions that came to nothing.

President Trump, however, denied any knowledge of the scheme. “Nobody briefed or told me, VP Pence, or Chief of Staff Mark Meadows about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians,” tweeted the President.