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China rejects reports of military patrols inside Afghanistan

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: The Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujunon on Wednesday dismissed a report that Chinese military vehicles were patrolling inside Afghanistan.

“Reports in foreign media of Chinese military vehicles patrolling inside Afghanistan do not accord with the facts,” he told a regular news briefing.

This comes after an Indian media outlet reported that Chinese security forces were making regulars patrols in Afghanistan.

Chinese security forces are making regularly patrols in Badakhshan province of Afghanistan, breaching the international laws on borders, India’s World Is One News (WION) reported early this month.

In a report backed by exclusive pictures, WION said the Chinese security forces were patrolling the Little Pamir region which borders China, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Kashmir.

The pictures show Chinese-manufactured Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) and Humvee-type vehicles patrolling deep inside Afghanistan.

However, Yang said China and Afghanistan did work together in some places to fight terrorist activity and cross-border crime.

“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,” Yang added.

China and India is helping Afghanistan in different areas. Likewise, Afghanistan is also enjoying great relations with both countries.

Sources in the remote and sparsely-populated area told WION that Chinese forces were entering into the region through Tajikistan.

However, neither Beijing nor Kabul has commented on authenticity of the report.

WION claimed that it has tried to contact President Ashraf Ghani’s spokesperson but got no response despite repeated attempts. “The Chinese embassy in New Delhi also refused to comment.”

WION, the India-based news entity, also could not verify that whether the patrols were made by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) or a private security firm.

According to the report, eyewitnesses in the area have accused the Chinese security forces of “direct involvement”. If the pictures are recent and taken inside Afghanistan, it would spark tension between Kabul and Beijing as patrols by Chinese forces is a serious breach of international laws.

Military analysts confirmed the images show Chinese-made military vehicles.

“The pictures show Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) and Humvee-type vehicles. Both appear to be Chinese versions of common Western armored vehicles,” WION quoted Justin Bronk, a senior analyst at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London.

“The Humvee-type vehicle is very identifiable as a Mengshi 4×4, also known as the Dongfeng EQ 2050. They have very distinctive markings on the doors which are absent from US-manufactured Humvees,” he said, adding that MRAPs are trickier to identify.

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