Some people worry that Yemen is “the next Afghanistan.” Top Obama administration officials have their hair on fire about the country’s growing international terrorist activity. And while the U.S. has increasingly stepped up support for the Yemeni government’s battle against al Qaeda, it’s clearly not a simple task:
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula conducted two ambushes in Yemen today, killing 13 Yemeni soldiers and wounding several more, including a brigade commander, in attacks in the southern province of Abyab.
In the first attack, AQAP fighters ambushed a convoy of Yemeni troops from Brigade 111 in Abyan’s district of Lauder, killing 12 soldiers. The AQAP ambush team used heavy machine guns and RPGs in the attack, according to the The Yemen Post. No AQAP fighters were reported killed in the firefight.
In a second attack, AQAP detonated a roadside bomb as Muhsen Juzailan, the commander of Brigade 111, and local officials were traveling in Lauder. The commander’s bodyguard was killed, while he and three other soldiers were wounded, some critically, The Yemen Post reported later.
Both attacks took place in Lauder, where Yemeni security forces launched a major operation last summer. In August, the interior ministry claimed that the district of Lauder in Abyan province had been cleared of al Qaeda fighters, but attacks in the district have persisted.
Of course, it might help if the Yemenis didn’t abuse our military aid for private profit. Regardless, for more about the Obama administration’s Yemen worries you can read my post about White House counter terrorism advisor John Brennan’s late-December speech on this topic.