Commander: U.S. can train Thai forces
HONOLULU » U.S. troops are ready, if asked, to train Thai forces to help them quell insurgent violence in their country, the U.S. special operations commander for the Pacific said yesterday.
Maj. Gen. David Fridovich said he was concerned about rising violence in southern Thailand, where an insurgency in three Muslim-dominated provinces has claimed more than 2,000 lives since 2004.
Fridovich stressed Navy SEALs, Army Rangers and other U.S. special operations troops would never go to Thailand to fight themselves.
Instead they could instruct Thai troops on how to use a "softer touch" to win over local populations and to isolate the insurgents.
"If there's an entree the Thai government gives us to help them with the southern issue, we'll gladly take it," Fridovich said on the sidelines of a special-operations conference in Waikiki.
The general said he has talked to Thai military officials about the matter but has not had any formal discussions so far.