China not to deploy troops to Afghanistan

September 2, 2018

TEHRAN - China has denied reports that it plans to deploy troops to Afghanistan, saying the neighboring countries are engaged merely in “normal military and security cooperation.”

China’s Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Wu Qian said reports in Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper that hundreds of People’s Liberation Army soldiers are to be deployed to a base in eastern Afghanistan are “simply not true.”

China shares a narrow border with Afghanistan in the remote Wakhan corridor region. Wu said China is helping Afghanistan increase its defense capabilities, particularly in the area of counterterrorism.

“China and Afghanistan have normal military and security cooperation,” he told reporters at a monthly briefing in Beijing.

Afghanistan’s ambassador to China, Janan Mosazai, earlier this week said Beijing is helping Afghanistan set up a mountain brigade to bolster counterterrorism operations, but that no Chinese troops would be stationed in the country.

“While the Afghan government appreciates this Chinese assistance and our two militaries are working in close coordination on utilizing this assistance, there will be no Chinese military personnel of any kind involved in this process on Afghan soil,” Mosazai said.

China has sought to increase its influence in Afghanistan, including in peace negotiations with the Taliban, after 17 years of U.S.-led war has destroyed the country.  

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