No Chinese soldiers on ground in Beijing-assisted military camp in Afghanistan: Afghan envoy

Hindustan Times
Yao Jianing
This photo taken on August 1, 2017 shows Chinese People's Liberation Army personnel attending the opening ceremony of China's new military base in Djibouti. (AFP)

Chinese military personnel won’t be stationed at the Beijing-funded counter-terrorism camp being built in Afghanistan, the Afghan envoy to China, Janan Mosazai, said on Wednesday.

The militaries of the two countries are working in close coordination on setting up a counter-terror mountain brigade in the northern Badakhshan region.

“There will be no Chinese personnel under any circumstances,” Mosazai said in a statement.

He was reacting to a report in the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.

The report said the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is likely to send hundreds of military personnel to Afghanistan’s isolated Wakhan Corridor in Badakhshan after they complete building a camp in the area.

If true, the development would have been worrying for India, which recently agreed to jointly implement a capacity-building project with China in Afghanistan.

It was agreed on by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping during their informal summit at Wuhan in April.

Citing sources, the report said this would be the first time that China would have a military presence in the area, “a narrow strip of inhospitable and barely accessible land extending about 350 km from the northern Afghan province of Badakhshan to China’s Muslim region of Xinjiang”.

Sources told the newspaper that the Afghanistan base would have a different role than the one in Djibouti – where China has deployed more engineers and builders than combatants – because the “training camp is located close to Xinjiang, which Beijing sees as the main source of the “three forces” – separatism, terrorism and extremism – behind a series of violent attacks in the region in recent years”.

Rejecting the SCMP report as false and baseless, Mosazai said: “The Chinese side is providing assistance to Afghanistan so that we can set up a mountain brigade in the north of Afghanistan in order to enhance our counter-terrorism operations in the region.”

There will be no Chinese military personnel of any kind involved in Afghan soil, said mosazai. China also denied the report.

Disclaimer: This article was originally produced and published by Hindustan Times. View the original article at Hindustan Times.



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