White House ending anti-terror task force in Philippines

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The Obama administration is putting an end to an elite task force of military trainers who were sent to the Philippines roughly one year after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The trainers have helped Filipino security forces take on al Qaeda-inspired terrorist organizations like Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah for over a decade.

“Our partnership with the Philippine security forces has been successful in drastically reducing the capabilities of domestic and transnational terrorist groups in the Philippines,” U.S. Embassy Press Attache Kurt Hoyer said in a statement released to The Associated Press on Thursday.

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The U.S. asserts that the radical Islamic organizations have been crippled due to its efforts in the region, and that some special forces operators will remain after the Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines (JSOTF-P) is dissolved.

Mr. Hoyer added that the plan is to “begin working on a transition plan where the JSOTF-P as a task force will no longer exist,” AP reported Thursday.

Currently, there are 320 American military personnel in the region. Roughly 500 to 600 Americans had previous been working on behalf of JSOTF-P.

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