Moving ahead when president Donald Trump won't, Joe Biden vowed to punish Russian president Vladimir Putin for a secret Russian operation since revealed offering money to Taliban or Taliban allies to kill American and British soldiers in Afghanistan.
A number of American and British soldiers were said to have been killed as a result of this bounty, or cash reward, which was first offered in 2019.
The cash incentives to kill U.S. troops was an operation launched by the GRU (Glavnoye razvedyvatel'noye upravleniye), the Russian foreign-military intelligence unit. The full Russian name for GRU translates into "Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation."
GRU was the unit responsible for poisoning Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in December 2018 in the United Kingdom with the nerve agent, Novichok.
Media reports revealed U.S. intelligence officials months ago agreed the GRU secretly offered a bounty for killing Coalition troops in Afghanistan. Disturbingly, GRU began offering the bounty when the U.S. and Taliban were holding talks to end the Afghan War that began in 2003. The Trump administratione excluded the Afghan government from the talks to end the war.
In a strongly worded statement, Biden said the horrifying revelation, if the media reports are accurate, is Trump had known about this for months, "and done worse than nothing."
Biden, who has a good chance of becoming U.S. president in November, promised retaliation against Russia if he becomes president. He pledged if elected president, "make no mistake about it, Vladimir Putin will be confronted and we'll impose serious costs on Russia."
Biden assailed Trump for doing nothing to punish Putin, who would have had to approve such a controversial operation. He said Trump failed to sanction and impose any kind of penalties on Russia for this egregious violation of international law.
Biden also said Trump has continued his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Putin. He called it a "betrayal of the most sacred duty we bear as a nation -- to protect and equip our troops when we send them into harm's way."
The White House incredibly claimed neither Trump nor vice president Mike Pence was briefed on this issue. Russia and the Taliban joined the White House in denying it offered bounties to kill American troops.
On the other hand, The New York Times said intelligence about these for profit killings was presented to Trump and discussed by his National Security Council in late March. It said the White House crafted potential responses. The Trump administration has refused to act on the first response, a diplomatic complaint to Russia.