U.S. special operations forces are expanding their training of the Yemeni military as the Obama administration broadens its program to counter terrorism in countries reluctant to harbor a visible American military presence.
That balancing act has become an administration trademark, funneling millions of dollars in aid and low-profile military trainers to countries like Pakistan and Yemen in order to take on a more diverse, independent and scattered al-Qaida network.The scope and amount of the military training in Yemen has grown slowly, reflecting the Pentagon's intention to tackle the terror threat while still being sensitive to fears that a larger American footprint in Yemen could help fuel the insurgency.
Over the past year, the number of elite U.S. trainers moving in and out of Yemen has doubled, from 25 to about 50 now. The numbers fluctuate depending on the training schedule, but U.S. forces are now providing a more complex level of instruction that combines tactical ground and air operations.
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