Communist China denied Indian media claims that the Chinese military has conducted regular patrols inside war-ravaged Afghanistan.
India’s WION [India’s World Is One News] news outlet this month published pictures on its website showing what it said were likely Chinese security forces patrolling in Afghanistan’s far northeastern Little Pamir region, where the country shares a border with China.
However, Yang Yujun, a spokesman for the Chinese Defense Ministry, dismissed the report.
“Reports in foreign media of Chinese military vehicles patrolling inside Afghanistan do not accord with the facts,” he told reporters.
Speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, an Afghan official in Kabul also denied the Indian media report, according to Reuters.
According to Afghanistan Times, the Litte Pamir Region, where the Chinese military vehicles were allegedly spotted, borders China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Kashmir.
The U.S.-backed government of Afghanistan has been turning to China for military assistance as the American military reduces its footprint in the war-ravaged nation despite deteriorating security conditions at the hands of a growing Taliban menace and Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) presence.
Earlier this year, China began providing military assistance to Afghanistan, which borders the autonomous region of Xinjiang, home of China’s largest concentration of the Muslim Uighur minority in the country.
“China has long been concerned that instability in Afghanistan will spill over into the violence-prone Xinjiang region, home to the Muslim Uighur people, where hundreds have died in recent years in unrest blamed by Beijing on Islamist militants,” notes Reuters.
The Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman acknowledged that China and Afghanistan have been working together to combat terrorism along their mutual border.
“In recent years, law enforcement bodies from China and Afghanistan, in accordance with a bilateral cooperation decision on strengthening border law enforcement, arranged to have joint law enforcement operations in border regions,” declared Yang without elaborating further.
Afghanistan requested military assistance from China in March. By July, China had provided its “first ever consignment of military aid to Afghanistan” via a Russian plane, reported TOLO News.
Russia has also provided military aid to Afghanistan.
In October 2015, Gen. John Campbell, the former top commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, warned that if the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan, other super powers may fill in the security vacuum.
“If we’re not there to provide influence, somebody else is going to be there, whether it’s Russia, China, Iran — you name it,” he said.