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American Forces in the Philippines: Drawing Lessons From a Rare Success - The Economist (H/T Max).
... This is part of an American mission that started in 2002, not long after the Taliban fell in Kabul. A force of up to 600 American soldiers, many of them counter-insurgency specialists, has been training elite Filipino troops to fight militant groups ever since. American gadgets, tactics and intelligence seem to be helping. Fifteen of the 24 names on a Philippine most-wanted poster have been crossed out, either captured or killed. Foreign troops are forbidden to fight, so combat duties fall to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). The Americans keep busy with aid projects designed to woo locals in areas thick with militants. These days, there are fewer of them. The AFP estimates that Abu Sayyaf, a group notorious for bombings and beheadings, has fewer than 400 fighters on Jolo and Basilan islands. General Benjamin Dolorfino of the AFP boasts the group can no longer stage attacks on Mindanao itself.
American military thinkers wonder if there are lessons for other parts of the world where al-Qaeda lurks. With a modest outlay here, the Pentagon has dealt a blow to Islamist radicals and sharpened the skills of an ally. American troops are overstretched, expensive and make attractive targets for jihadists, so it makes sense to train other forces to fight where they can.
America, however, is unlikely to find other partners as perfect as the AFP, which is modelled on America's armed forces. Filipino officers speak English, know and admire America, once the colonial power, and can bond with their comrades over beer and karaoke. Try that in Yemen...
More at The Economist.