Sep 162014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/10/06MANILA4338.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA4338 2006-10-13 05:34 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO8012
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #4338 2860534
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 130534Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3473
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//OSD/ISA/AP// IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 004338

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP AND EAP/MTS
USPACOM ALSO FOR FPA HUSO
SECDEF/OSD/ISA/AP (LAWLESS/TOOLAN/BAILEY)
JOINT STAFF/J5 (WILKES/ROBINSON/CLEMMONS)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/13/2016
TAGS: PREL PINS PTER MOPS RP
SUBJECT: OCTOBER 13 UPDATE ON JOLO OPERATIONS

REF: MANILA 4260 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: (U) Pol/C Scott Bellard
for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Now nearing the end of its eleventh week, “Operation
Ultimatum” — the ongoing effort by the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) to capture or kill the Abu Sayyaf Group and
Jemaah Islamiyah leadership on the island of Jolo — has
succeeded in narrowing the area in which Khaddafy Janjalani,
Abu Sulaiman, Umar Patek, and Dulmatin can maneuver to Mount
Bagsak in central Jolo. AFP Scout Rangers, Special Forces,
and Marine units, in very difficult terrain, are continuing
to engage in an aggressive series of patrols and ambushes.
Six AFP soldiers were wounded while conducting a night ambush
on October 8 when ASG elements counterattacked with 57 mm
recoilless rifle fire, while eight others were wounded and
two killed on October 11 when Scout Rangers assaulted an ASG
position they encountered during a patrol. In both cases,
the ASG broke contact and fled.

¶2. (C) The October 8 incident notably involved a night-time
helicopter evacuation of the casualties by U.S.-trained
Philippine Air Force pilots. A U.S. Joint Special Operations
Task Force surgical team operated on the wounded soldiers
once they arrived at Camp Bautista, saving the life of one of
the most badly injured. Once the casualties had been
stabilized, a U.S. contract aircraft transported them to
Zamboanga for more extensive medical care. U.S. forces
provided similar assistance to the casualties of the October
11 engagement, clearly demonstrating the seamless nature of
our cooperation under the new “Kapit Bisig” counterterrorism
framework.

¶3. (C) The Philippine Navy continues its impressive blockade
of Jolo. To date, it has stopped and searched over 2500
vessels departing or arriving on the island. One search of a
fishing boat this week uncovered a weapon and an AFP uniform,
fueling suspicions that the terrorists may be seeking to use
subterfuge in an effort to escape the island; the crew of the
stopped vessel remains in custody undergoing questioning.

COMMENT
——-

¶4. (C) “Operation Ultimatum” inevitably draws comparisons
with 2005’s “Layas Pagad” and the earlier Operation Enduring
Freedom Philippines effort on Basilan in 2002. While not yet
meeting with full success, the AFP has shown remarkable
determination in keeping its troops in the field and its
ships at sea. The night-time aerial casualty evacuation is a
direct result of U.S. training, as are the improved logistics
and maintenance skills that have allowed the Philippine Navy
to maintain its maritime cordon and the Philippine Air Force
to keep up its UH-1H and MD-520 sortie rate. AFP soldiers on
the ground, many of them U.S. trained, have shown a readiness
to close with the enemy and finish the fight. Commanders,
such as Task Force Comet’s Brigadier General Ruben Rafael and
the 3rd Marine Brigade’s Brigadier General Juancho Sabban,
have demonstrated willingness to work closely with U.S.
counterparts, and receptiveness to U.S. planning suggestions.
As one U.S. officer who witnessed both Basilan and the
ongoing operation recently observed, “There’s been a marked
improvement in four years — this is a different AFP.”

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

   

 

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