Unconfirmed and newly declassified reports from White House officials claim China attempted to hire “non state actors” to target U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan.
Two senior members of the Trump White House told Axios the administration “is declassifying as-yet uncorroborated intelligence, recently briefed to President Trump, that indicates China offered to pay non-state actors in Afghanistan to attack American soldiers.”
One anonymous official told Axios, “the U.S. has evidence that the PRC [People’s Republic of China] attempted to finance attacks on American servicemen by Afghan non-state actors by offering financial incentives or ‘bounties.'” The NSC is coordinating with other members of the intelligence community to confirm reports and investigate the situation.
The official did not elaborate on who these ‘non state actors’ were, leaving the door open to the possibility of them being Taliban insurgents.
“The source would say only that this happened some time after late February when the U.S. struck its deal with the Taliban,” Axios added, but it’s worth noting the US saw zero combat deaths since that time.
China has a history of building relations with the Taliban, even going as far as inviting representatives to Beijing in 2019 to discuss peace talks with the US. China offered to build infrastructure through Taliban territory as part of their Belt & Road initiative to create trade routes linking Europe, the Middle East, and Africa with China, hoping to increase the CCP’s sphere of influence. Chinese made weapons have also found their way into the hands of Taliban operatives.
China joins Russia as yet another global power who attempted to place bounties on American troops fighting in the Middle East. President Trump was briefed over the summer of alleged plans by the Russian military to pay militants linked to the Taliban targeting coalition forces in Afghanistan. Russia and the Taliban both deny these allegations, and Trump, during the general election debates with Joe Biden, claimed any reports of Russia paying hostile forces was unverified.
According to Axios, Trump was verbally briefed by National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien on December 17th. While the report is still unconfirmed, intelligence officials claim, “multiple agencies are currently working to corroborate the initial intelligence reports.”
The Policy Coordinating Committee (PCC) met on December 22nd to, in part, attempt to corroborate and verify initial reports of China placing bounties on American troops. The PCC also discussed ways to defend remaining troops in the region, if the intelligence is accurate.
Categories: World News