By Habiba Ashna
The National Directorate of Security (NDS) exposed the Chinese Intelligence network, which had been operating in the country for at least six months. Chinese spies maintained contacts with the “Haqqani network” (an organization banned in the Russian Federation) and other factions of the Afghan Taliban (an organization banned in the Russian Federation, as well). The attack on the Chinese agents in Afghanistan, Nezavisimaya Gazeta (NG) – a known Russian Newspaper- experts believe, could have been delivered with the participation of the American special services, which would benefit from weakening Beijing’s region.
In mid-December, NDS officials conducted a major operation in Kabul, which resulted in the capture of about ten Chinese intelligence agents. According to Afghan security officials, it is about eliminating “a complex and ramified network of agents,” which operated for several months in the interests of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in order to promote Beijing’s geopolitical influence in the region.”
Among the Chinese intelligence officers arrested by the NDS was resident Li Yanyang. According to Afghan intelligence officers, he began to actively work in the country in July, becoming an important element of the espionage network. Li Yangyang was detained on December 10 at his Kabul office. According to sources, Afghan intelligence officers found weapons, ammunition, explosives, as well as the drug ketamine.
At the same time as Li Yanyang was detained, the NDS officers arrested another Chinese agent, Sha Hong. During a search in his residence, located in the very center of Kabul – In the Shirpur area, explosives and drugs were found.
In addition to Li Yanyang and Sha Hoon, Afghan counterintelligence officers arrested seven more Chinese intelligence agents (one of them turned out to be a Thai citizen).
According to Afghan intelligence agencies, Yanyang and Sha Hong were “key players” in a Chinese spy network in Afghanistan. According to leaks released to the Afghan media, the detained Chinese agents were in contact with some of the warlords of the Haqqani terrorist network. Moreover, agents of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) acted as intermediaries between the “Li network” and the “Haqqani network”.
One of the main tasks of the Chinese reconnaissance group, captured by the Afghan security service, was to collect information about Uyghur militants who fled from the territory of the PRC to Afghanistan and neighboring countries. To this end, Chinese spies regularly met, including with field commanders of various Taliban factions, recruited sources of information among the Taliban, and also, according to some sources, among al-Qaeda militants (the organization is banned in the Russian Federation).
It is known that the main attention of Li Yangyang’s agent network was focused on the northern Afghan province of Badakhshan, where there are several Uyghur settlements. Among other things, Uyghur militants who fled from the PRC with their families lived.
Based on NG experts rioted that the arrest of a large group of Chinese Intelligence agents in Afghanistan occurred shortly after the United States removed the Islamic Movement of East Turkestan (ETIM, banned in Russia) from the list of terrorist organizations, which consists of Uyghur militants (who believe its main enemy is communist China.) “Most likely, these two events – the arrest of the Li network and the removal of terrorist status from the ETIM – are linked to each other,” said one of the experts. – And, it is likely that the American special services, closely cooperating with the Afghan security forces, were involved in the liquidation of the Chinese intelligence group. The Chinese working against the Uyghur militants were taken over shortly after the US legalized the ETIM. Obviously, this is a signal to Beijing not only from Kabul, but also from Washington.”
“Undoubtedly, the arrest of a large group of Chinese agents is a major success for NDS,” an expert’s comment on the situation. – Thus, a real “spy holding” was destroyed, which included not only Chinese intelligence officers, but also operatives of the Pakistani special services, terrorists of the Taliban, the Haqqani network and, probably, Al-Qaeda, who are waging. A brutal war against the government and people of Afghanistan. Of course, Beijing is unlikely to like it. However, the Afghan side will be able to weather the Chinese discontent. Moreover, the PRC leadership today is more concerned with its partnership with Islamabad, hostile to Kabul, than with real cooperation with Afghanistan. The Chinese talk a lot about peace in Afghanistan, while supporting the Pakistani military, who is waging a multi-year hybrid war against the Afghans, using the Taliban terrorists and other groups for this. Now, Kabul has made it clear to Beijing that it will no longer tolerate Chinese spies cooperating with Pakistani agents and militants of the Haqqani network on its soil.
It is obvious that the Americans are now interested in weakening the intelligence capabilities of the PRC in Afghanistan. The forthcoming reduction in the number of the US military contingent will inevitably lead to a decrease in American influence in Afghanistan. Certain countries in the region will most likely try to fill the “resource void” using, first of all, the potential of their intelligence services. It can be assumed that China will be one of the first who wants to enter the positions vacated by the US, which will inevitably lead to a “war of intelligence”. Obviously, the Americans are preparing for such circumstances and are already beginning to clean up the Afghan landscape from Chinese competitors, by using the hands of Afghan intelligence agents. It is likely that we continue to witness new revelations of Chinese spies in Afghanistan.
View expressed in this article are of the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Pajhwok’s editorial policy.