Russia’s Foreign Ministry has responded to allegations that Moscow put bounties on the heads of American soldiers in Afghanistan by accusing U.S. intelligence agencies of drug trafficking. Zamir Kabulov, Vladimir Putin’s special envoy to Afghanistan, made the claim Saturday in comments to state-run news station Rossiya 1, according to Kommersant. “These countless kickbacks from projects out there, the participation of the same wonderful American intelligence agents who are accusing us of things, in drug trafficking. They have planes from Kandahar, from Bagram they fly wherever they want without any checks. Well, it’s such a business. Every Afghan in Kabul will tell you this, even a lazy one is ready to talk about this topic,” he said.
The Kremlin has denied the bombshell claim publicized by the New York Times that Russia offered bounties to Taliban fighters and criminals in Afghanistan to kill American soldiers. Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, called the allegation “100 percent bullshit” earlier this week. But U.S. officials say they have data showing financial transactions to back up their claim, along with the identity of the Afghan contractor who served as a middleman in the scheme.