The family of a U.S. Marine from Locust Valley who was killed in Afghanistan last year is demanding answers in an investigation into reports that the Russian military may have paid a bounty to the Taliban for the roadside bombing.
Cpl. Robert A. Hendriks, 25, was among three U.S. Marines who were killed in the bombing near Kabul in April 2019. The Associated Press reported that U.S. intelligence agencies are investigating the attack and others last year to see if Russians paid bounties for them.
“The parties who are responsible should be held accountable, if that’s even possible,” Hendriks’ mother, Felicia Arculeo, of Freeport, told CNBC.
President Donald Trump has been under pressure since The New York Times reported on Friday that a Russian military intelligence unit offered such bounties and a later report that he received a written briefing on the matter in February.
Trump has tried to deflect criticism by saying the intelligence was not conclusive enough to be brought to his attention, and by calling news reports “fake news.”
“I was never briefed because any info that they may have had did not rise to that level,” he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
The United States will respond strongly if it is confirmed that Russia paid Taliban-affiliated militants to kill U.S. and allied soldiers in Afghanistan, White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said on Wednesday, without providing details.
“These are important allegations that, if they’re verified I can guarantee you the president will take strong action,” O’Brien told reporters outside the White House, though he added Washington may never know the truth of the matter because of media leaks. “We’ve been working for several months on options.”
Related Story: Long Islander Among 3 Marines Killed in Afghanistan