Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines

Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines
Part of Insurgency in the Philippines, the War on Terror
PMC BAlikatan Exercise.jpg
Philippine Marines training with U.S. Marines
Date15 January 2002 – February 24, 2015[1]
StatusSuccessful operation - Substantial reduction in capabilities of domestic and transnational terrorist groups operating in the Philippines[1]

 Republic of the Philippines

 United States of America (advisors)

Jihadist groups:

Commanders and leaders
Philippines Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
Philippines Benigno Aquino III
United States Donald C. Wurster
Isnilon Totoni Hapilon 
Abu Sabaya 
Khadaffy Janjalani 
Albader Parad 
Umbra Jumdail 
Abu Bakar Bashir POW)[2]
Marwan [3]
United States US Forces: 250[4]–6,000 (Advisors/Trainers)[5] Abu Sayyaf: 300[6]
Jemaah Islamiyah: 5,000[7]
Casualties and losses
17 killed[8][9]
Communist insurgency in the Philippines
Islamic insurgency in the Philippines,
11 September 2001 attacks

Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines (OEF-P) or Operation Freedom Eagle was part of Operation Enduring Freedom and the global War on Terror.[10] The Operation targeted the various Jihadist terror groups operating in the country. By 2009, about 600 U.S. military personnel were advising and assisting the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the Southern Philippines.[11] In addition, by 2014, the CIA had sent its elite paramilitary officers from their Special Activities Division to hunt down and kill or capture key terrorist leaders.[12] This group had the most success in combating and capturing Al-Qaeda leaders and the leaders of associated groups like Abu Sayyaf.[12]


The 1898 Treaty of Paris ended the Spanish–American War, with Spain ceding the Philippines to the United States. Islam had arrived in the Philippines before the Spanish. Spain had conquered the northern islands, and the southern islands had become the Sultanate of Sulu.[13] The Spanish cession included the islands of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago, and the ceded territory included the islands of the Sultanate of Sulu located in the Philippine archipelago where slavery and piracy had for centuries been practiced by the Moros. The Spanish had established coastal garrisons but had never controlled the jungle interiors of the islands.[14]

In 1899, U.S. Brigadier General John C. Bates negotiated the Kiram-Bates Treaty for American Sovereignty over the Moro land, which recognized and respected the position of the Sultan and the Sultanate as well as their Muslim traditions, laws, and practices with the Sultan of Sulu.[15] After the U.S. had completed its goal of suppressing the resistance in Luzon in the Spanish–American War, it unilaterally abrogated the Bates Treaty on March 2, 1904, claiming the Sultan had failed to quell Moro resistance and that the treaty was a hindrance to the effective colonial administration of the area. Bates later confessed that the agreement was merely a temporary expedient to buy time until the northern forces were defeated.[16][17][18]