RealNews

Trained by US, Colombia unit gains

Opening a new front in the war on terrorism, Colombian soldiers trained by the US military have killed or captured at least six guerrilla leaders as part of a ”decapitation strategy” to defeat the country’s rebel groups and strike a blow against the drug trade, American military and intelligence officials told the Globe. A new commando unit began tracking rebel commanders in the jungles of Colombia about three weeks ago and carried out some of the attacks in recent weeks. It is the first unit in the Colombian Army to receive US special-forces training under a new program approved by President Bush expanding US military assistance from fighting drug cartels to battling insurgent groups that the administration considers ”narco-terrorists.” The unit, organized to resemble a US Army Ranger battalion of 600 to 800 soldiers, is designed to hunt down and capture or kill top commanders of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known by its Spanish initials as the FARC; the rightist National Liberation Army, or ELN; and the paramilitary United Self Defense Forces, or AUC. Those groups have tightened their grips on drug and arms trades in the region and have growing links with other terrorist groups around the world, the American officials said. Full Story

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