U.S. Trainers, Military Cooperation Returns to Yemen

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2012 — U.S. mil­i­tary per­son­nel are again train­ing Yemeni forces, Defense Depart­ment offi­cials said today.

U.S. offi­cials had sus­pend­ed the train­ing mis­sion in Yemen due to polit­i­cal insta­bil­i­ty in the nation. Recent­ly, the Unit­ed States recent­ly began rein­tro­duc­ing a small num­ber of train­ers into the coun­try, Navy Capt. John Kir­by, Pen­ta­gon spokesman, said.

Kir­by, speak­ing to reporters, said the Unit­ed States has been work­ing for years with the Yemeni gov­ern­ment and mil­i­tary to com­bat the grow­ing al-Qai­da threat in the nation. That threat does­n’t just threat­en the Yemeni peo­ple but also Amer­i­cans, he said.

“There was a sus­pen­sion of some of that activ­i­ty in Yemen for a while due to the polit­i­cal insta­bil­i­ty in that coun­try,” the spokesman said. “We are now begin­ning to resume more of that rou­tine mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary coop­er­a­tion.”

Pen­ta­gon offi­cials will not dis­cuss oper­a­tions in Yemen, Kir­by said. “And I’m cer­tain­ly not going to pro­vide spe­cif­ic details on the num­bers of indi­vid­u­als that we have there,” he said.

Kir­by also addressed ques­tions about an Amer­i­can airstrike in Afghanistan that mis­tak­en­ly hit a civil­ian tar­get, killing six mem­bers of an Afghan fam­i­ly. Kir­by reit­er­at­ed that the Unit­ed States finds civil­ian casu­al­ties unac­cept­able.

Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, com­man­der of the Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force in Afghanistan, took respon­si­bil­i­ty for the raid and promised a thor­ough inves­ti­ga­tion. “We take each one very, very seri­ous­ly; they’re all a tragedy,” Kir­by said of civil­ian deaths.

The coali­tion goes to enor­mous lengths to avoid civil­ian casu­al­ties and col­lat­er­al dam­age, Kir­by said. “When it hap­pens, as trag­ic as it is, it’s by mis­take; it’s an acci­dent,” he said. “We own up to it, we take respon­si­bil­i­ty, we inves­ti­gate it.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)