What is the U.S. role?
In early 2002, approximately 650 U.S. soldiers took part in training exercises with 5,000 frontline Philippine soldiers on patrols in Basilan, a rugged southern island that is a stronghold of Abu Sayyaf. The U.S. also supplied the Philippines with $92 million worth of military equipment. But plans in early 2003 to introduce the 350 U.S. Special Forces into combat roles against Islamic militants foundered on political opposition.

Post Coverage: Missed Signals Forced Suspension of U.S.-Philippine Mission (Mar. 3, 2003) Special Forces Aid Effort in Philippines (Jan. 16, 2002)