Pompeo tells Taliban 'not to attack Americans'

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Christie, Pompeo named co-chairs of GOP redistricting group America needs a new strategy for Pacific Island Countries MORE on Tuesday said he spoke with the Taliban’s chief negotiator, telling him that the U.S. expects the group “not to attack Americans,” following reports that Russia paid the Taliban bounties to kill U.S. soldiers.

“Spoke yesterday with the Taliban chief negotiator to press the Taliban to live up to their commitments under the U.S.-Taliban Agreement, including not to attack Americans,” the secretary wrote on Twitter. 

The call follows outcry from lawmakers and pressure on President TrumpDonald TrumpCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Netanyahu suggests Biden fell asleep in meeting with Israeli PM Aides try to keep Biden away from unscripted events or long interviews, book claims MORE to explain what he knew and how he responded to intelligence reports that the Russian government was offering incentives to Taliban-linked militants to kill coalition service members in Afghanistan. 

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The Washington Post reported that the Russian bounties led to deaths of American soldiers.

The Russian government has denied these allegations. 

A spokesman for the Taliban said that chief negotiator Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar has reiterated its pledge not to strike against the U.S. and denies that its fighters received any Russian bounties, Al Jazeera reported.

Baradar also reportedly told Pompeo that the Taliban does not allow “anyone to use Afghan soil against the U.S. and other countries,” Al Jazeera quoted Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen as writing on Twitter.

The call follows efforts by the U.S. to promote intra-Afghan negotiations on a peace deal that would normalize the Taliban’s role in Afghan politics.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special representative for negotiations with Afghanistan, is traveling in the region and promoting these efforts, with stops in Qatar, Pakistan and Uzbekistan.