Abu Sayyaf: Target of Philippine-U.S. Anti-Terrorism Cooperation [Updated July 26, 2007]   [open pdf - 148KB]

"From January 2002 until July 31, 2002, the United States committed nearly 1,300 troops to the Philippines to assist Philippine armed forces (AFP) in operations against the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group in the southern Philippines, on the island of Basilan southwest of Mindanao. From 2005 into 2007, the U.S. committed up to 450 military personnel to western Mindanao and Jolo island south of Basilan These U.S. non-combat, support operations were in response to Philippine President Arroyo's strong support of the United States following the September 11 Al Qaeda attack on the United States. […] Philippine government policy has been to apply military pressure on Abu Sayyaf. Operations have been constrained by several factors including difficult terrain, inadequate Philippine military equipment, avoiding clashing with the MILF and MNLF, and reportedly high level of corruption in the Philippine military. U.S. military support, however, did achieve successes. […] In 2005, U.S. forces began direct support missions for the Philippine military in western Mindanao against Abu Sayyaf, and U.S. military personnel began joint training exercises with the AFP in MILF areas of Mindanao. U.S. officials expressed concern over the presence of JI on Mindanao and links among JI, Abu Sayyaf, and the MILF. The Bush Administration supported the ongoing peace talks between the Philippine government and the MILF as the best means of eroding the MILF-JI linkage. However, coordination among Abu Sayyaf, JI, and elements of the MILF present the threat of a wider terrorist war in the Philippines and could confront the Bush Administration with decisions for greater U.S. involvement."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL31265
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