Sep 152014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2005/04/05MANILA1773.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MANILA1773 2005-04-18 08:59 2011-08-30 01:44 SECRET Embassy Manila
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001773

SIPDIS

STATE FOR S/CT AND EAP/PBMS
STATE ALSO FOR DS/DSS/DO/PETERSON, DS/ICI/RFJ/SCHINDEL
GOMBIS
ASD/ISA/AP FOR BG ALLEN
NSC FOR GREEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/18/2015
TAGS: MOPS PTER MASS PREL PINS RP
SUBJECT: AFP NARROWLY MISSES JI/ASG TERRORIST TARGETS

REF: MANILA 1614

Classified By: (U) Political Officer Paul O’Friel
for reasons 1.4(b) and (d)

¶1. (S) SUMMARY. Light reaction companies of the Armed Forces
of the Philippines (AFP) narrowly missed capturing the Jemaah
Islamiyah (JI) terrorist Dulmatin and senior Abu Sayyaf Group
(ASG) leaders Khaddafy Janjalani and Abu Solaiman during a
tightly compartmented April 15-16 raid on the terrorists’
hideout. The attack achieved strategic and operational
surprise, and involved the AFP’s first night movement and a
nighttime helicopter insertion, both directly resulting from
specialized US training and equipment. We are pushing the
AFP to keep up its operation tempo against these targets.
END SUMMARY.

ANOTHER NARROW MISS
——————-

¶2. (S) The AFP’s Joint Special Operations Group (JSOG)
missed capturing JI operative Dulmatin and senior ASG leaders
Khaddafy Janjalani and Abu Solaiman during a
compartmentalized operation on April 15-16. Composed of the
JSOG’s 2nd and 3rd Light Reaction Companies (LRCs), the
raiding force attacked a camp on the edges of the Liguasan
Marsh in central Mindanao in which Dulmatin, Janjalani, and
Abu Solaiman were sheltering, but lost contact with the
fleeing terrorists, who managed to escape.

¶3. (S) The operation involved the first use of the JSOG
against ASG/JI targets in Mindanao, and had been planned
since early April in close coordination with Military
Intelligence Groups (MIG) 21 and 11, which had pinpointed the
terrorists’ location. To prevent any leak and to protect
operational security, AFP Chief of Staff General Efren Abu
directed SOUTHCOM Commander LTG Alberto Braganza to bypass
the 6th Infantry Division, whose area of operations includes
central Mindanao.

WHILE US SUPPORT PROVED KEY…
——————————

¶4. (S) Coordinated multi-agency US support proved key. The
AFP had US assistance throughout all phases of the raid. A
10-member Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines
operations/intelligence fusion team was present at the JSOG
commander’s operations center during the engagement to advise
him. This team also provided intelligence support from P3
surveillance aircraft and UAVs. RMAS separately provided
locational data.

…THE AFP RAN OUT OF STEAM
—————————

¶5. (S) Although the LRCs came close on several occasions
during the course of the raid to capturing the fugitive
terrorists, after more than 24-hours of continuous combat in
difficult terrain they could no longer sustain operations.
Additionally, the AFP command structure — with 6th Infantry
Division Commander MG Raul Relano once again evidently
playing a dilatory role at a critical moment — hesitated for
four key hours when the MILF’s 104 Base Command threatened to
counterattack what MILF commanders labeled a violation of the
GRP/MILF ceasefire. Without a coherent back-up plan or
sufficient follow-on forces or reserves, the AFP broke off
contact and withdrew on April 16.

COMMENT
——-

¶6. (S) This operation is the latest in a series of
near-misses for the AFP. On November 19, 2004 and January
27, 2005, in combined arms daylight attacks using aircraft
and artillery units, 6th Infantry Division forces narrowly
missed Dulmatin’s and Janjalani’s hideouts. But the most
recent engagement demonstrated improvement in the AFP’s
operations, notably with commanders paying better attention
to operations security and compartmentalization, by adding
heightened elements of strategic and operational surprise,
and by use of night movement and a nighttime helicopter
insertion. The latter elements resulted directly from
specialized US training and equipment. The US-trained light
reaction companies involved showed aggressive will to fight
and good skills.
¶7. (S) On the negative side, the operation failed.
Interservice coordination and employment of combined arms
remain weak, and the AFP failed to commit sufficient forces
to close off all possible escape routes. Combat commanders
also remain over sensitive to the impact their operations may
have on peace negotiations with the MILF — despite President
Arroyo’s direct orders to the senior command on this point on
March 30. Once again, the AFP’s decision-making process
froze in response to the MILF’s threat to intervene.

¶8. (S) Although not successful, the JSOG in its first
large-scale operation gave a good account of itself.
Dulmatin, Janjalani, and Abu Solaiman remain on foot and on
the run in central Mindanao, whose rough terrain offers
limited mobility. JSOTF-P, RMAS, and other Embassy elements
are closely engaged with their counterparts to get the AFP to
keep up the tempo of its operations and get back in the
fight.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm
Ricciardone

   

 

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