TALIBAN: ‘Russian Bounties Are Fake News, MIC Attempt to Stop Peace Deal With US’

Afghan alleged former Taliban fighters carry their weapons before handing them over as part of a government peace and reconciliation process at a ceremony in Jalalabad on February 24, 2016. More than a dozen former Taliban fighters from Nazyan district of Nangarhar province handed over their weapons as part of a peace reconciliation program. AFP PHOTO / Noorullah Shirzada / AFP / Noorullah Shirzada (Photo credit should read NOORULLAH SHIRZADA/AFP/Getty Images)
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KABUL – Taliban Spokesman Suhail Shaheen reiterated the militant group’s stance on its alleged collusion with Russia, which he said is nothing but “fake news”.

“The Russian bounties report is not true; it is a baseless allegation. We’re fighting neither for anyone nor for money. Our people have their own ideology and they are fighting for that and sacrificing,” Shaheen told RT on Sunday.

Referring to a US-Taliban peace deal signed earlier this year in Doha, he suggested that “the politically motivated report has to do with spoilers of the peace process” related to the aforementioned agreement. The goal is to “damage and harm this peace process”, Shaheen underscored, slamming the opponents to the deal’s “baseless thinking”.

The remarks followed Shaheen’s previous rejection of The New York Times report about Russian military intelligence allegedly offering bounties to the Taliban for killing US servicemen in Afghanistan.

“We’re continuing our own investigation based on the information in the media. These accusations are false and groundless, and they were launched by an intelligence agency in Kabul to derail and postpone the peace process as well as the formation of a new government”, he said in a statement earlier this month.

Russia, which welcomes the Doha peace deal, and even the Pentagon also denied the bounties claims, citing a lack of any proof pertaining to the allegations. The accusations were even slammed by US President Donald Trump as a fabricated hoax.

The developments came after the US and the Taliban signed a long-awaited peace agreement in the Qatari capital of Doha in late February, a deal that envisages the timetable of the US withdrawing some of its 13,000 troops from Afghanistan.

The agreement also stipulates the release of up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners and US cooperation with the new post-settlement Afghan Islamic government and Washington’s non-interference in Kabul’s internal affairs.

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