In a huge diplomatic setback to China, Afghanistan security forces have busted 10-member Chinese module operating a terror cell in the capital city of Kabul. There are reports of the Chinese administration persuading the Ashraf Ghani to windup the case since this incident has generated global suspicion on them. These Chinese citizens were detained by Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) on charges of espionage and running a terror cell. Two people out of the ten caught were in contact with the Haqqani network, told diplomats in Kabul.
This incident has happened at a time when the US is withdrawing its forces following a deal with the Taliban. It indicates the level of impending security troubles that would engulf Afghanistan after the total withdrawal of American troops. President Ashraf Ghani has been briefed about the detentions and has authorised First Vice President Amrullah Saleh, a former chief of the Afghan intelligence agency, to oversee the investigation and engage the Chinese in view of the sensitivities involved, the people cited in the first instance added.
Investigators, a diplomat in New Delhi said, were still trying to ascertain the precise activities of the espionage ring and any possible linkage to Pakistan’s deep state. One view within the Afghan security establishment is that the detainees were creating a fake East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) module in Afghanistan to entrap ETIM operatives in Afghanistan. ETIM is a small Islamic separatist group alleged to be active in Xinjiang province, home to China’s ethnic minority Uighur Muslims. China had always been using ETIM as an excuse for the persecution of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang province.