Spurred by recent battlefield gains, the Pentagon is making plans to send U.S. military aircraft to Yemen for the first time to help move government troops and supplies more quickly into battle against Islamic militants, U.S. officials said.
Senior U.S. commanders responsible for the Middle East argue that deploying American cargo aircraft could be crucial to carrying on a U.S.-backed offensive that has driven members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and allied groups out of several cities and towns.
“This wasn’t an American idea. It was a Yemeni idea and one worth considering given our common fight against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” said a U.S. official, who, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan is not public. “Nothing’s been decided, and it may take some time before the Yemenis themselves sort out whether they need this kind of support or not.”
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