A senior U.S. military commander says the United States and its coalition partners in the Horn of Africa region have been "quite successful" in tackling the terrorist threat.
Major General John Sattler is the former commander of the U.S. Horn of Africa anti-terrorist Task Force and now serves as director of operations for the military's Central Command, the command with overall responsibility not only for the Horn but also for Iraq and Afghanistan.
Speaking by telephone from Qatar to reporters at the Pentagon, the general says the more than 1,000 U.S. military personnel operating out of Djibouti have been working closely for a year and a half with regional security forces.
He says the U.S. role has been to provide counter-terrorist training and to share intelligence with such countries as Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Yemen, while also working closely with international naval forces to interdict terrorists at sea.
General Sattler gives few details of successful anti-terrorist operations.
But he says regional security forces, not U.S. troops, have scored all the successes.
?All the engagements, all the arrests, all the terrorists that have been brought to justice over the course of this past 18 months in that theater have been done by the host nations themselves,? General Sattler said.
General Sattler calls that a "perfect solution" from the U.S. perspective.
?If we can work in concert with our coalition partners, share the intelligence, help them do the find and the fix of the terrorists [help them kill or capture the terrorists], in this case, the transnational terrorists, and then they do the finish, that's the way it should be.?
General Sattler says the maritime interdiction effort in the Horn region has resulted in the capture of drug dealers.
But he also says a number of those picked up at sea have been "pushed into the interrogation system because of their ties with al Qaeda."