Counter-terrorism training for Asians

Agence France Presse

Kuala Lumpur, April 19:

US experts today began training officials from five Southeast Asian nations to fight terrorist financing in one of a series of programmes at the Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counter Terrorism. Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar told some 100 officials from the US, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand that the terrorist threat was growing stronger every day and no nation could stand against it alone. US experts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, customs and border patrol will brief their Asian counterparts during the four-day workshop on their operating procedures and establish working relationships to share intelligence. Syed Hamid said terrorists were dependent on finance to fuel their activities while the global community lacked a blueprint to fight money laundering and suspicious transactions. "Countries must be equipped with the right skills to cripple any terrorist activity at its nascent stage," he said.

"International terrorism will remain a common threat confronting us unless we adopt a comprehensive approach to confront the scourge. No one country can fight this evil alone. We have to collaborate closely." Southeast Asia is home to the Al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terror network accused of deadly bomb attacks in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Other groups in the region that have been branded terrorists by the US and local governments, including the Abu Sayyaf Muslim kidnap-for-ransom group in the southern Philippines.