Pompeo spoke with Russia’s Lavrov about Afghanistan: U.S. State Dept

FILE PHOTO: Taliban walk as they celebrate ceasefire in Ghanikhel district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan June 16, 2018.REUTERS/Parwiz/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the situation in Afghanistan with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday, the U.S. State Department said, following media reports Russia offered money to militants to kill Americans in Afghanistan.

The Trump administration has downplayed the reports, saying U.S. agencies have not corroborated intelligence that Russia may have paid the Taliban to kill U.S. troops. Russia has denied the allegations.

After being briefed by U.S. intelligence officials earlier this month, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Washington should impose sanctions on Russia’s intelligence and defense sectors.

In his call with Lavrov, Pompeo also raised the issue of election security, the department said in a statement, as the United States readies for nationwide voting on Nov. 3.

U.S. officials have raised concerns that Russia could interfere in this year’s election after an investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller disclosed a campaign of hacking and propaganda by Russia during the 2016 U.S. presidential race.

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