China is again pushing back on news regarding increased military assistance to Afghanistan, contradicting comments from sources who reportedly claimed Beijing would be sending troops to the country.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying dismissed the report as “untrue” at a regular briefing on Wednesday.
The question from reporters came after the South China Morning Post on Tuesday cited unnamed sources “close to the Chinese military,” one of whom said that China was likely to send troops to a training camp in Afghanistan.
The Afghan Embassy in Beijing denied the claim that military personnel would be stationed in the country, and the Post subsequently toned down the headline, which originally suggested China was building a training camp.
Earlier this year, Russian media reported that China was providing funding and military equipment for a new base in the Afghan province of Badakhshan. Afghan security officials were quoted on the record in the report, noting China’s concerns regarding Uyghur terrorists in the country.
Afghanistan is also located in an area of strategic importance for China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
When those reports surfaced in January, China’s Defense Ministry dismissed the claims as “groundless.”