US special forces are supporting counterterrorism partners against Al-Qaeda
US role in Yemen-UAE offensive confirmed
The US Central Command confirmed that US special forces are supporting regional counterterrorism partners in ongoing operations in Yemen against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), centred in the area of Shabwa.
Centcom's media operations Major Josh Jacques told The National "US forces are supporting regional Counterterrorism partners in ongoing operations in Yemen against AQAP." The operation is aimed at "degrading the group's ability to coordinate external terrorist operations and use Yemeni territory as a safe space for terror plotting."
The National reported yesterday that the operations are centred in Shabwa with participation from Yemeni forces, UAE army and US forces. Centcom does not comment on details of ongoing operations.
Mr Jacques said "U.S. support to the Yemeni people serves to enhance stabilisation efforts in the region" and that "eliminating AQAP, as well as Islamic State influence from the region, will significantly degrade extremist activity in the area to set conditions for stabilisation efforts in Yemen."
Without giving exact numbers, he said "a small number of U.S. forces are present in Yemen to exchange information with capable partners in the region."
Since February 28, the Centcom official revealed, U.S. forces have conducted more than 80 strikes against AQAP militants, infrastructure, fighting positions, and equipment.