US officials told the newspaper that Taliban-linked fighters, or their associates, are believed to have received some reward money from the Russian unit [Rahmat Gul/The Associated Press]

Russia and the Taliban have denied a media report saying that a Russian military intelligence unit had offered money to Taliban-linked fighters to kill US troops and other members of the NATO coalition operating in Afghanistan. 

The New York Times report says that US intelligence officials concluded several months ago that the Russian unit had last year secretly offered rewards to the fighters in return for successful attacks. The information was later independently reported by the Washington Post. 

The officials said the Taliban-linked fighters, or elements closely associated with them, are believed to have collected at

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