The newly appointed spokesman for the Islamic Republic Foreign Ministry has dismissed the the U.S. accusation that Tehran has paid the Taliban in Afghanistan to kill American troops as "groundless allegations".
"The accusations leveled by the U.S. Secretary of State is sort of shifting the blame onto others and an attempt to divert public opinion of the Afghan people from Washington's assistance to Daesh (ISIS)," the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)-linked Tasnim news agency cited Saeed Khatibzadeh as saying on Tuesday, August 18.
"U.S. intelligence agencies assessed that 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 airbase in December," CNN reported last Monday.
According to the documents obtained by CNN, Iran paid the Haqqani network for the attack on the Bagram base on December 11 last year. The attack killed two civilians and left more than seventy wounded, including two US troops.
A current administration official and a former senior official with knowledge of the situation told CNN that U.S. officials cited Iran's link to the Taliban as part of the argument for conducting the strike that killed top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on January 3.
About a month after the deadly attack on Bagram Air Base, commander of the IRGC's Qods Force, Qassem Soleimani, was killed on January 3 in a US drone strike outside Baghdad airport.