This week, anonymous sources within the Trump administration told US media that China may have offered bounties to unnamed “non-state actors” in Afghanistan to attack US troops. The story comes months after this summer’s never verified claims by the New York Times and the Washington Post that Russia was offering similar payments.
On Thursday, Fox News doubled down on reporting by Axios from a day earlier suggesting that the US government has been working to declassify “uncorroborated intelligence” that China has offered cash rewards for the heads of US troops in Afghanistan. President Trump has reportedly been briefed on the matter, but has yet to comment publicly.
Beijing has blasted the claims, with a foreign ministry spokesperson characterising them as “fake news” designed to “smear China,” and suggesting that the allegations were a sign of just “how crazy some people have gone” to try to poison China-US relations. “We have never started a war with others, not to mention paying non-state actors to attack other countries,” the spokesperson stressed.
Return to Bounty Land
“Clearly there are some sections in the American defence and national security establishment which don’t agree with the Trump administration’s position on [Afghanistan], and particularly the principle stance to withdraw troops from Afghanistan,” Umer Karim, visiting fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, a London-based think tank, says about the fresh…