Centcom Spokesman: Successes
Against Terrorists Result From Partnerships
By Terri Moon Cronk, DoD News,
Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. — (DoD
News) — May 10, 2016 — Today’s hostage rescue by U.S. and Afghan special
operations forces and recent airstrikes that have killed terrorist operatives
highlight the cooperation and partnership U.S. Central Command has with its
regional partners for security and stability, a Centcom spokesman said today.
Speaking by teleconference to Pentagon reporters, Air Force Col. Pat Ryder
emphasized how the strong relationship and bolstered interoperability between
the United States and its regional allies are the result of many years of
working together on the battlefield and through robust bilateral and
An Afghan air force A-29 Super Tucano aircraft flies over Afghanistan during
a training mission, April 6, 2016. NATO’s Train, Advise, Assist Command Air
works daily to assist the Afghan air force in improving its capabilities. U.S.
Central Command spokesman Air Force Col. Pat Ryder credited recent successes
against terrorists to strong relationships and bolstered interoperability
between the United States and its allied and regional partners.
“We continue to work hard to strengthen those relationships and partnerships
as we work together to address common challenges such as defeating terrorist
groups [including] the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and al-Qaida,” he
Two recent successful operations highlight how the allies work together
toward a common goal.
U.S., Afghan Forces Rescue Hostage
Ali Haider Gilani, son of former Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani,
was rescued today by U.S. special operations personnel and Afghan commandos in a
partnered raid conducted in the Giyan district of Afghanistan’s Paktika
province. He had been held hostage for three years.
Four al-Qaida operatives were killed in the raid, Ryder said, adding that
under Operation Freedom’s Sentinel authority, the counterterrorism mission was
planned and launched after terrorist activity there was confirmed.
“The U.S. partnership with the government of the Islamic Republic of
Afghanistan is highly effective and critical to the fight against terrorism and
ensuring peace and stability in the region,” he said. “This rescue is very good
news, and we commend the U. S. and Afghan forces [that] conducted this mission.”
Airstrikes in Yemen Kill Terrorist Operatives
The U.S. military conducted four counterterrorism airstrikes May 6 against
al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, a terrorist organization in Yemen, which
killed 10 al-Qaida operatives and injured one, Ryder said, adding that the
Defense Department last week announced Centcom also has provided limited support
to the Arab coalition and Yemeni operations in and around the port city of
“While the U.S. airstrikes were not directly linked to or in support of the
Arab coalition operations in Yemen, it’s important to note the common purpose,”
That purpose relates to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula remaining a
significant threat to the region, the United States and beyond, Ryder said.
“Al-Qaida’s presence has had a destabilizing effect on Yemen and the terror
group has exploited the unrest there to provide a haven from which to plan
future attacks,” he added.
In concert with U.S. regional partners, “we remain committed to defeating
[al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula], denying it safe haven regardless of its
location, and the strikes conducted by the [United States] in Yemen are intended
to diminish [al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula’s] presence in the region,” Ryder
(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)