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The Trump administration is declassifying unconfirmed intelligence that indicates China paid nonstate actors in Afghanistan to attack U.S. soldiers, Axios reported Wednesday.
Two senior administration officials told Axios that the intelligence was included with President Trump’s briefing on Dec. 17. Administration officials from multiple agencies are attempting to corroborate the information. If the information is indeed true, it could drastically change China’s relationship with the U.S. and heighten tensions between the two superpowers.
Axios noted that China has mostly remained out of Afghanistan while speaking to Taliban officials about peace deals. However, Chinese-made weapons and funding have intermittently made their way to Afghanistan, the news outlet reported.
This report comes months after uncorroborated intelligence came out that Russia had offered bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Trump was condemned by lawmakers for his apparent reluctance to acknowledge or confront Russia on the reports.
According to Axios, it is unclear whether President-elect Joe Biden or any members of Congress have similarly been briefed on this information, though Biden has access to the President's Daily Brief.
If the intelligence ultimately cannot be corroborated, the decision to declassify it would fall into question, Axios noted.