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Report: U.S. aid has helped Colombia combat the FARC

Dec. 22, 2013 at 1:42 AM

BOGOTA, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Assistance from the United States has helped Colombia bring the FARC insurgency to the bargaining table, officials from both countries say.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, usually known by its Spanish acronym, FARC, has lost many of its key leaders in recent years, the Washington Post reported Sunday. The newspaper, citing interviews wiith more than 30 active and former officials, said the group, founded a half-century ago, is smaller than it has been for years.

A CIA program funded outside regular military assistance to Colombia was launched during President George W. Bush's administration and has continued under President Barack Obama.

The program combines eavesdropping to give Colombia real-time information on the whereabouts of FARC leaders and technology that helps kill them. A GPS guidance system added to bombs allows pinpoint targeting.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos would not comment on the details of the program.

"It's been of help," he told the Post during a visit to Washington. "Part of the expertise and the efficiency of our operations and our special operations have been the product of better training and knowledge we have acquired from many countries, among them the United States."

FARC and the Colombian government are in talks in Havana on ending the lengthy civil war.

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