As U.S. Winds Down Counterterrorism Task Force in the Philippines, Challenges Remain

Members of the Armed Forces Philippines (AFP) participate in live-fire exercise while receiving training with the U. S. Army Special Forces, Zamboanga, Philippines, Mar. 21, 2003 (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Edward G. Martens).
Members of the Armed Forces Philippines (AFP) participate in live-fire exercise while receiving training with the U. S. Army Special Forces, Zamboanga, Philippines, Mar. 21, 2003 (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Edward G. Martens).

In remarks at the U.S. Embassy in Manila early last month, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg praised the elite counterterrorism unit sent to advise the Philippine military after the attacks of 9/11, known as the Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines (JSOTF-P), as having “gained the trust and earned the respect of our host nation partners.” The unit, he pointed out, was also the “first element of the U.S. Armed Forces to deploy” to areas affected by last November’s typhoon. But after more than a decade in the Philippines, the United States is phasing out the task force. […]

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