Iran offered bounties to Taliban fighters for targeting American and coalition troops in Afghanistan, identifying payments linked to at least six attacks carried out by the militant group just last year alone, including a suicide bombing at a US air base in December, CNN quoting United States intelligence agencies reported.
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“Bounties” were paid by a foreign government, identified to CNN as Iran, to the Haqqani network — a terrorist group that is led by the second highest ranking leader of the Taliban — for their attack on Bagram Air Base on December 11, which killed two civilians and injured more than 70 others, including four US personnel, according to a Pentagon briefing document reviewed by CNN.
The US killed a key Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Iraq less than a month after the Bagram attack but after a lengthy process involving several agencies to develop options aimed at countering Iran’s support for militant groups in Afghanistan. The decision was made in March not to take specific action as officials did not want to jeopardize the peace process with the Taliban, according to multiple sources familiar.
While the Donald Trump administration did not take any specific action after concluding its internal review of the link between Iran and the Haqqani Network earlier this year, multiple officials argued that the US President has taken a strong stance toward Tehran for its dealings with the Taliban.