As part of a cyberespionage operation targeting Central Asian countries, Chinese hackers recently sought to breach the computer networks of Afghanistan’s National Security Council, researchers at cybersecurity firm Check Point reported.The alleged attack by the Chinese-speaking hacking group known to cybersecurity experts as IndigoZebra is the latest in an operation that goes back as far as 2014 and has targeted political entities in neighboring Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, the researchers wrote in a FILE – An iPhone displays a Facebook page, Aug. 11, 2019. Facebook said March 24, 2021, that hackers in China had used fake accounts and impostor websites in a bid to break into the phones of Uyghur Muslims.This is the first major Chinese cyberespionage operation in Afghanistan to come to light, coming just weeks after An icon for the Pulse Secure smartphone app, right, and a computer desktop info page are seen in Burke, Va., June 14, 2021. Suspected Chinese hackers penetrated U.S. entities’ computers in what cybersecurity experts called a major espionage campaign.China conducts large-scale cyberespionage operations around the world, cybersecurity experts say. In its latest threat assessment to Congress, the U.S. intelligence community wrote in April that China “presents a prolific and effective cyberespionage threat, possesses substantial cyber-attack capabilities, and presents a growing influence threat.”The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.Check Point researchers said they investigated the cyberattack in Afghanistan after stumbling upon a suspicious email on a website that detects malware in email communications. The email had been apparently posted by one of its recipients on the Afghan National Security Council, according to Alexandra Gofman, the lead investigator on the Check Point team that probed the operation.Khalid Mafton of VOA’s Afghan Service contributed to this report.