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U.S. Counterterrorism Chief Vows Search Will Continue for Contractors Held by Colombian Rebels

U.S. Vows Colombia Search to Continue. The United States “will never give up” trying to bring home three American contractors held captive by Colombian rebels for six months, a top U.S. counterterrorism official said Wednesday. But Ambassador-at-Large J. Cofer Black, the U.S. State Department’s counterterrorism coordinator, said Colombian troops and not Americans will conduct any rescue operation on the ground. “We have no intention at this point of replacing Colombian personnel in a combat role,” Black said. The 28-year CIA veteran, sworn in as counterterrorism chief in December, met with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and top civilian and military officials to track the effectiveness of U.S. assistance in helping the country battle terrorism. The U.S. government has given billions of dollars in aid and training to the Colombian military to support its war against leftist rebels and to wipe out cocaine and heroin production. Some of the most hazardous missions are being carried out by contractors. Full Story

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