Thousands of miles from the bazaars of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, U.S. military forces are quietly helping defeat terrorists in the jungles of the southern Philippines, a forgotten front in the global war on terrorism.A great story hiding under the Iraq and Afghanistan dust. Shame.
Working behind the scenes with a rejuvenated Philippine military, U.S. special forces have helped kill, capture or rout hundreds of Abu Sayyaf guerrillas who have links to the Islamic terror groups Jemaah Islamiyah and al-Qaeda, Philippine and U.S. military commanders say.
"The U.S. has done much better than the critics expected," says Philippines specialist Kit Collier, visiting fellow at Australian National University. "Five years ago, when U.S. troops were first sent to Basilan, many predicted 'a new Afghanistan.' Instead, the security environment there has been transformed."