BEIJING - China will provide Afghanistan with security equipment and training, President Xi Jinping told his Afghan counterpart on Friday, days after Chinese officials observed the first tentative peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban. Pakistan hosted the talks aimed at ending more than 13 years of war in neighbouring Afghanistan, where the Taliban have been trying to re-establish their hard-line Islamist regime after it was toppled by US-led military intervention in 2001.

Beijing is keen to see a stable Afghanistan, worried about what it says are separatist groups in China's far western region of Xinjiang, which borders the Central Asian country.

"Increasing security cooperation suits both countries' interests. China will continue to supply Afghanistan with security supplies, technology, equipment and training assistance," Xi told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during a meeting in Russia. Xi is in the Russian city of Ufa for a summit of the leaders of the BRICS emerging nations, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, during which Afghanistan's security is to be discussed.

The statement did not give further details on Chinese assistance, but Beijing has long pledged security cooperation with Afghanistan and has been bracing for more responsibility there as US forces have scaled back. China says it does not seek to replace departing Western troops in Afghanistan but has promised to play a "huge" commercial role in helping rebuild the country.

Meanwhile, China's military will prosecute another former senior officer for corruption, the Defence Ministry said on Friday, part of a sweeping campaign against graft which has already felled dozens of top people, including high ranking military personnel.

Weeding out corruption in the military is a top goal of President Xi Jinping, chairman of the Central Military Commission, which controls China's 2.3 million-strong armed forces. In a brief statement, the ministry said that Deng Ruihui, former political commissar for the Joint Logistics Department in the Lanzhou military region, is suspected of serious "breaches of discipline", the usual euphemism for corruption.

"He is suspected of breaking the law, and has already been handed over to the military prosecutor for handling in accordance with the law," it added, without elaborating. The Lanzhou military region is one of seven military regions in China, and is in charge of security for a large swathe of western China, including the restive region of Xinjiang, where Beijing says Islamist militants operate.

Serving and retired Chinese military officers have said military graft is so pervasive it could undermine China's ability to wage war, and dozens of senior officers have been taken down.

The anti-graft drive in the military comes as Xi steps up efforts to modernise forces that are projecting power across the disputed waters of the East and South China Seas, though China has not fought a war in decades.

The chief of China's anti-graft watchdog called for more severe punishments and stronger discipline for ruling Communist Party members, state media reported on Friday, as President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption drive enters its third year. "The ruling Party's discipline and regulations must be harsher than the law," the official Xinhua news agency quoted Wang Qishan as saying.

Wang heads the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, through which the country's leadership has conducted its sweeping efforts to stamp out corruption in the Communist Party and government ranks. These efforts have brought down some of China's most senior political, military and state-owned enterprise officials.