China dismisses report of military patrols in Afghanistan
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BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Defence Ministry on Wednesday dismissed reports Chinese military vehicles were patrolling inside Afghanistan, after an Indian media outlet said Chinese security forces were making regular patrols there.
India's WION news outlet this month published pictures on its website showing what it said were likely Chinese security forces patrolling in Afghanistan's far northeastern Little Pamir region, where the country shares a border with China.
Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun dismissed the report.
"Reports in foreign media of Chinese military vehicles patrolling inside Afghanistan do not accord with the facts," he told a regular news briefing.
Yang said China and Afghanistan did work together in some places to fight terrorist activity and cross-border crime.
"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.
He did not elaborate.
The Indian report was also denied in Kabul by an Afghan official, who asked not to identified as he is not authorized to speak to the media.
China has long been concerned that instability in Afghanistan will spill over into the violence-prone Xinjiang region, home to the Muslim Uighur people, where hundreds have died in recent years in unrest blamed by Beijing on Islamist militants.
China is also working with Pakistan and the United States to broker peace talks to end Afghanistan's Taliban insurgency that has raged there for 15 years.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Hamid Shalizi in Kabul; Editing by Robert Birsel)
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