RealNews

Delay Seen in U.S.-Philippine Joint Mission

In a setback to the campaign against terrorism in the Philippines, the commander of American forces in the Pacific said today that a joint mission with Philippine troops to combat Muslim rebels will likely be postponed for six months. Military officials said the delay was needed to allow the United States to train several hundred additional Philippine troops in counterterrorism, and to buy time to break a months-long impasse over rules for the operation that would conform with the Philippine Constitution. The officer, Adm. Thomas B. Fargo, told reporters after meeting with top Philippine officials in Manila today that the exercise would “probably be best conducted” after the training of special Philippine light-infantry troops was completed, which officials said would be in November or December. Until now, American and Philippine officials had said the exercise would likely begin this month or next. “We’ll have a bigger group of better-trained Philippine troops under U.S. supervision to do future counterterrorism activities,” a senior American defense official explained. “It also provides time to continue working out the terms of reference to get it to everyone’s satisfaction.” Full Story

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