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Philippines Battle Raises Spotlights U.S. Counterterrorism Aid

The Wall Street Journal reports that “the deaths of 18 Philippine soldiers in a firefight with Islamist militants deepened concerns about the effectiveness of the country’s counterterrorism forces, despite hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. investment in training them over almost 15 years.”  

“The Philippine military said 52 troops were wounded in ferocious fighting Saturday with Abu Sayyaf guerrillas, who law-enforcement officers believe are holding nearly two dozen hostages in jungle camps in the country’s south.”  

The piece further reports: “The U.S. provided $441 million in security assistance funding to the Philippines between 2002 and 2013, according to a newly published study by Rand Corp., a U.S. think tank. Much of that money was spent on improving the Philippine military’s counterterrorism units. The U.S. military’s Special Operations Command operated from a base in the southern Philippines from 2002 until May last year from where it worked closely with the Philippine military to strike Abu Sayyaf and other Islamist militant groups.”

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