US Sending Advisers to Aid Peruvian Military in War Against Drug Trafficking

THE United States plans to send military advisers to Peru to help its army combat drug dealers, including rebels involved in cocaine trafficking, the State Department said.The department did not disclose how many advisers would be dispatched but an official who asked not to be identified said Wednesday it would be "a relatively small number, certainly not a large number. It is still being discussed." The United States already has about a half dozen military personnel advising the Peruvian national police on how to fight drug trafficking. But dispatching the military to help the Peruvian Army - the number of US military advisers contemplated is said to be about 50 - would be a break from more than two decades of practice. The Peruvian Army has a poor human rights record. Because of that, Congress could object to the proposed arrangement and may try to kill it. "Following discussions with the Peruvian government, we have agreed that an effective counter-narcotics program requires the support of the Peruvian military," the department said. Administration officials said no US personnel would be sent to a combat area in Peru.

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