According to former Philippine Senate Minority Leader Nene Pimentel, the Abu Sayyaf are remnants of about 800 Filipino Muslim Moujahideens who, together with thousands of other Muslim jihad warriors from several countries, were recruited, trained and financed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to fight the CIA-sponsored proxy war in Afghanistan against the Russians in 1980.
This article doesn't look like it will get archived, but here are some similar ones:[via Ethel The Blog]
Our military in the Philippines seems about to start joining the front line combat there.
Early yesterday two Pave Hawks flew a hazardous mission in darkness to rescue three wounded Philippine army soldiers after a guerrilla ambush in which a fourth man was killed. It was the Americans' closest brush with combat yet.
The American forces are now planning to send 12-man special units into action against the insurgents alongside companies of the Philippine army, each about 120 men strong. Senior Philippine army officers expect official recommendations to that effect this week.
A Safe Place for a War: on the wisdom and necessity of sending over 600 American troops to the Philippines to help combat Abu Sayyaf.
Anyone who comes here to the jungles of Basilan, home to the Abu Sayyaf movement that we're supposed to destroy, discovers pretty quickly that Abu Sayyaf isn't a militant Islamic terror group. It's simply a gang of about 60 brutal thugs.
[via Follow Me Here]
Military and civilian officials here and Basilan island expressed
alarm yesterday over US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's admission
that 200 American troops are already in a jungle training camp,
despite unresolved issues in the Balikatan war games' Terms of
Even more alarming was the same official's claim that exercises would be expanding to Jolo, Sulu and "other parts of Mindanao island."
A top ranking Southern Command official, who requested anonymity, expressed anger at Rumsfeld's remarks at a Pentagon press briefing.
"We have been under orders to keep all US troop movements strictly confidential. That is for their (US troops') security. I am surprised that the US defense secretary would admit what we are supposed to keep secret," the official said.
Isn't Rumsfeld the one who got so torqued about a troop presence leak?
Making her strongest defense yet of the controversial Philippine-US
Balikatan 02-1 military exercise in Mindanao, President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo declared Friday that anyone opposed to the presence
of American forces here to train local troops to fight the Abu Sayyaf
Muslim bandit group was "not a Filipino".
Speaking at her weekly press conference in Malacaņang, Ms Macapagal said: "If you are not a Filipino, then who are you? A protector of terrorists, a cohort of murderers, an Abu Sayyaf lover.
"You care more for terrorists than for your own soldier who defends you. You care more for bandits and the camp of Osama bin Laden than your country, which seeks to help you."
"No President of the Philippines, and we have had 13 of them, had ever
dared say that any Filipino who happens to disagree with the President
is not a Filipino," Sen. Joker Arroyo of the ruling Lakas said in a
three-paragraph statement in his own handwriting.
"Not even (the late strongman Ferdinand) Marcos denied any of his opponents their birthright," Arroyo said.
"Is this the measure of the President's IQ or that of her advisers?"
Why President Macapagal is suddenly talking like this is puzzling. She is an intelligent person, and it does not require great intelligence to know that there may be Filipinos who are opposed to the American military engagement in Mindanao precisely because they care for their country and the welfare of the Filipino soldier. What they oppose is not the campaign to terminate the Abu Sayyaf, but the use of means that are contrary to law and are likely to produce greater injury to the nation.