WION Impact: China dismisses report of military patrols in Afghanistan
China's defence ministry on Wednesday dismissed reports that Chinese military vehicles were patrolling inside Afghanistan, after WION published exclusive images showing security forces making regular patrols.
Chinese defence ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said, "Reports in foreign media of Chinese military vehicles patrolling inside Afghanistan do not accord with the facts."
The images showed Chinese security forces, ignoring international borders, made patrols in Afghanistan's far northeastern Little Pamir region, where the country shares a border with China.
Yujun explained that the two countries did work together in certain areas to fight terrorist activity and cross-border crime but dismissed the report outrightly.
"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.
In Afghanistan, a Kabul official also denied the report filed by WION, who asked not to be identified.
Independent military analysts had confirmed the images showed Chinese-manufactured military vehicles. ''The pictures show Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) and Humvee-type vehicles. Both appear to be Chinese versions of common Western armoured vehicles,'' said Justin Bronk, a senior analyst at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London, in the earlier report.
China has long been concerned that instability in Afghanistan will spill over into the violence-prone Xinjiang region.
Hundreds have died in the region, which is home to the Muslim Uighur people, in recent years in unrest blamed by Beijing on Islamist militants.
Beijing is also working with Pakistan and the United States to broker peace talks to end Afghanistan's Taliban insurgency that has raged on for 15 years.
(WION with inputs from Reuters)