MANILA, Philippines (AP) — American and Filipino officials say the U.S. is disbanding an anti-terror task force composed of hundreds of elite military forces after more than a decade of helping fight al-Qaida-linked militants in the southern Philippines.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Thursday that the Philippines has been notified by U.S. officials of their plan to deactivate the Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines, adding the number of American military personnel has been considerably been reduced in the south.

U.S. Embassy spokesman Kurt Hoyer says the success of the task force in helping Filipino forces beat back militants has led American military planners “to begin on a transition plan where the JSOTF-P as a task force will no longer exist.” Some U.S. troops will remain to ensure the militants cannot recover.

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