Monday, September 26, 2016

Pentagon helping Southeast Asian allies tackle IS

Pentagon helping Southeast Asian allies tackle IS: The United States is helping Southeast Asian allies do more to prevent the Islamic State group from gaining a greater foothold in the area, senior Pentagon officials said Thursday.

The IS has already established a presence in several countries across the region including Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines, and authorities worry both about domestic attacks and nationals traveling to join the jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

General Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the United States is helping partners share intelligence and information on extremist groups.

"We're trying to work with them to develop a framework within which they can share information, share intelligence," Dunford testified at the committee hearing.

"We are absolutely working close with our partners, and frankly, the limit of the support we provide is often what they are willing to accept politically," he added.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said he was meeting with regional defense ministers next week at a summit in Hawaii and IS would be one subject of discussion.

"Southeast Asia clearly is a place (IS aspires) to spreading," Carter said.