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US training Jordanians for rapid deployment force

US officials have confirmed that the United States is secretly training a Jordanian rapid deployment force to be ready to protect Western oil interests in the Gulf.

The force, said to number as many as 8,000 men, has been training for 21/2 years with US Special Forces troops, the officials said Friday. Defense Department officials said there had been three air training exercises in recent years with US and Jordanian troops. They added that if the Jordanian force were ever sent into action, the US Air Force would help the Royal Jordanian Air Force transport them.

The New York Times said Saturday that the Reagan administration was seeking $ 220 million to continue the training. The newspaper also said the Jordanians proposed the force after the takeover in 1979 of the Great Mosque in Mecca by Islamic militants.

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