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Media reports claim that Donald Trump was briefed on alleged Chinese bounties earlier this month. In the past, Russia was also accused of offering money to Afghan militants to attack US troops.
US intelligence officials briefed President Donald Trump on alleged findings that China has offered money to non-state actors in Afghanistan to attack US troops, news site Axios and TV network CNN reported Wednesday.
According to Axios, the president was told about the Chinese bounty issue on December 17, and that officials were working to corroborate the claims.
Earlier this year, reports of Russian bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan had drawn criticism by Washington.
Trump, however, has always dismissed these reports as “fake news.”
It was initially unclear whether US President-elect Joe Biden was also briefed on the China findings.
China ‘wants US out of Afghanistan’
China shares a short border with Afghanistan to its far-western region of Xinjiang. Beijing has long been worried about links between militant groups operating in Xinjiang, home to the Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighur people.
China is part of a Quadrilateral Coordination Group – comprising Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the United States – which aims to end the 19-year-long Afghan conflict. The grouping has not achieved any significant breakthrough so far, with Islamabad and Kabul at loggerheads over the militancy issue, and Beijing and Washington lacking trust.
Jawid Kohistani, an Afghan security analyst in Kabul, told DW that China wants NATO and US forces out of Afghanistan so it could expand its economic influence in the region.
In November, the Pentagon announced the US will withdraw 2,000 troops from Afghanistan by January 15.
NATO has warned against a hasty troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, saying “the price for leaving too soon or in an uncoordinated way could be very high.”