Afghanistan security forces said on Tuesday they had uncovered and arrested 10 suspected members of a Chinese intelligence network who had been operating in Afghanistan for about six months.
The suspected spies are alleged to have maintained contacts with the militant groups, Haqqani network Taliban, according to the official report released to the Afghan media.
The National Directorate of Security officials said they conducted a major operation in Kabul which resulted in the detention of about 10 Chinese intelligence agents.
Among the Chinese intelligence officers arrested by the NDS was Li Yanyang, who allegedly began to actively work in the country in July, becoming an important element of the espionage network.
Li was detained on December 10 at his Kabul office, where Afghan forces recovered weapons, ammunition and explosives from him.
The NDS officers also said they arrested another Chinese agent, Sha Hong, and recovered drugs and explosives during a search at his residence.
The Afghan counterintelligence officers said they also arrested seven more Chinese intelligence agents (one of them turned out to be a Thai citizen).
Yanyang and Sha Hong are “key players” in a Chinese spy network in Afghanistan, according to the report.
According to the Afghan security officials, the NDS is about eliminating “a complex and ramified network of agents”.
The suspects, they said, allegedly operated for several months in the interests of the Chinese Communist Party in order to promote “Beijing’s geopolitical influence in the region”.
The report also alleged that the detained Chinese agents were in contact with some of the warlords of the Haqqani terrorist network.
Agents of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence also acted as intermediaries between the “Li network” and the “Haqqani network,” the report said.
It further alleged that the suspected Chinese spies regularly met, including with field commanders of various Taliban factions, recruited sources of information among the Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists.
One of the main tasks of the group was to collect information about Uyghurs who fled from the territory of China to Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, the report said.