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Intel on China bounties called ‘less’ credible than Russia payments


The official went on to described the recent intelligence as “rumors” and lacking “hard evidence.”

#But the allegations involving #Chinese operatives in #Afghanistan are being handled very differently by #Trump officials than the those involving #Moscow earlier this year.

#Trump initially denounced media reports on the alleged #Russian bounties, calling it a “hoax.” #He said intelligence officials told him he was not briefed about those allegations at the time because they did not find them credible.

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The #Russian allegations have since been largely dismissed. “It just wasn’t there,” said the senior U.S. official.

#Yet O’#Brien briefed #Trump and members of the national security team on the most recent allegations of #Chinese activity in #Afghanistan on #Dec. 17 and convened a #National #Security #Council #Policy #Coordination #Committee on the topic on #Dec. 22, one senior administration official said.

The U.S. “treats this intelligence with caution, but any intelligence or reports relating to the safety of U.S. forces is something we take very seriously,” said the official.

#President-elect #Joe #Biden’s transition team will seek to learn “as much as we can about these allegations,” said a transition official, noting that the news is “another illustration of why we need full cooperation” from the #Pentagon. #Biden earlier this week accused #Defense #Department leadership of obstructing the transition.

“As #President, #Joe #Biden will hold to account anyone who would seek to endanger brave #Americans,” the official said. “#Nevertheless, we’re not going to speak to alleged intelligence reporting, nor the motivation behind the release of what is reported to be uncorroborated information.”

The new allegations involve potential #Chinese incentives to “Afghan non-state actors,” as opposed to the militant #Taliban that has been fighting U.S. led forces and the #Afghan government, the senior official said, employing the term commonly used for terrorist groups.

#Recent intelligence also suggests that #China has been funneling #Chinese-made weapons in #Afghanistan, the person said.

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#However, other U.S. defense officials said they would be surprised if the allegations are true, noting that such a move would not be in keeping with #China’s operating style. #China is typically far more “cautious” in its international behavior, said one former defense official, adding that the allegations could be “disinformation.”

“I’d be surprised but not shocked,” the person said. “In my experience, the #Chinese have been less willing to put U.S. service people in direct harm’s way because of its escalatory implications.”

#Joint #Chiefs of #Staff #Chairman #Gen. #Mark #Milley recently met with #Taliban representatives in #Doha, #Qatar, to urge a reduction in violence and make progress on stalled peace talks between the militants and the #Afghan government. There has not been an #American combat death in #Afghanistan since the U.S. signed a peace treaty with the #Taliban in #February.



[ source link ]
https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/30/china-afghanistan-bounties-452863

##Intel ##China #bounties #called #credible ##Russia #payments

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