Trump Briefed That China Sought to Pay Non-State Actors to Attack US forces in Afghanistan

US President Donald Trump received information earlier this month that China sought to pay non-state actors to attack American forces in Afghanistan, a US senior administration official said.

The intelligence, which will be declassified by the Trump administration, was provided to the President in his daily brief on December 17, the official said.

His national security adviser Robert O’Brien discussed the information with the President that same day, the official said.

News of the briefing and the administration’s intention to declassify the information was first reported on Wednesday by Axios.

Information of this alleged intelligence is thus far uncorroborated. The scenario is reminiscent of reports earlier this year that Russia allegedly offered Afghan militants bounties to kill US forces in Afghanistan.

That information also appeared in the President’s intelligence briefing although it was later revealed that the information likely went unnoticed for weeks.

Trump has yet to publicly call Russia out on the issue.

While it’s unclear whether President-elect Joe Biden has seen the intelligence, he would have had access to the same intelligence since he receives the President’s Daily Brief.

A Biden transition official told CNN that while they would not speak to the alleged intelligence reporting, or the motivation behind “the release, of what is reported to be uncorroborated information,” the President-elect “has no greater concern than the safety of our service members” and will hold to account anyone who endangers Americans.

“Our teams will seek to learn as much as we can about these allegations from the outgoing administration, and this is another illustration of why we need full cooperation, including from the Department of Defense,” the official added, referring to the contentious transition process between incoming Biden and outgoing Trump defense officials.

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

31 / December 2020
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