US helping AFP in trying to clear Marawi of the Maute terrorist group
A military official confirmed on Saturday that its United States counterpart is helping them in their operation against the Maute terrorist group in Marawi City.
“The presence of the US counterparts facilitates the exchanges of intelligence, facilitate subject matter expert exchange and also provide training exchanges and off course the technical support that we are sharing together in the fight of global terrorism,” Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, Army’s 1st Infantry Division spokesman said Saturday.
In a statement issued Saturday, the US Embassy did not give further details but they confirmed their assistance to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP’s) operation against the terrorist group.
“At the request of the Government of the Philippines, US special operations forces are assisting the AFP with ongoing operations in Marawi through support that helps AFP commanders on the ground in their fight against Maute and ASG militants. For security reasons, we are not able to discuss specific technical details of US support for ongoing AFP operations,” it said.
“The US government continues to work with the AFP to increase intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities through security assistance and training. For security reasons, we are not able to discuss specific technical details of U.S. support for ongoing AFP operations,” it added.
Herrera clarified US forces were not involved in the actual battle in Marawi City.
“They are not fighting they are just providing technical support,” Herrera said.
The US Embassy also emphasized that generally speaking the “US special operations forces have been providing support and assistance in response to Philippine government requests for many years. As we have in the past, we routinely consult with our Filipino partners at senior levels to support the Duterte administration’s counterterrorism efforts.”
“The United States is a proud ally of the Philippines, and we will continue to work with the Philippines to address shared threats to the peace and security of our countries, including on counterterrorism issues,” it stated. Robina Asido/DMS