A day after the US was reported to have participated in an anti al-Qaeda offensive in southern Shabwa Province of Yemen, the Pentagon is confirming that a “small number” of US ground troops have been deployed into Yemen for an ongoing operation against the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) force.
Details are still scant, but the operation is said to be taking place across central Yemen in a major al-Qaeda stronghold.
The Pentagon said the main purposes of their presence is “intelligence sharing,” at least for now.
That’s because the Pentagon said they are not ruling out sending even more troops into Yemen in the coming weeks, as they appear to intend to continue escalating the fight against AQAP, in an offensive which apparently is being coordinated with the United Arab Emirates.
This operation is distinct from the Saudi-led war in Yemen, which is not focused on fighting against AQAP, but the presence of US ground troops in the country at all is likely to be controversial, given the human rights disaster the US-backed Saudi conflict has turned into.