US ambassador reaffirms commitment to Lebanese army

US Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard and US military representatives on Wednesday (August 21st) attended a live-fire exercise conducted by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) at the Akoura military complex, Lebanon's Naharnet reported.

In remarks to the press, Richard congratulated the LAF for "demonstrating outstanding professionalism and sophistication in safely executing complex maneuvers using advanced-technology weaponry and equipment".

She said the live-fire exercise was an "extremely challenging operation with lots of moving parts", noting that "the communication among all of the elements was extraordinary".

"We are firm believers in this army and I hope every Lebanese believes in this army, as well," she said.

The live-fire exercise employed a variety of military equipment, including Bradley vehicles, A-29 aircraft, Huey helicopters and Humvees, to perform a broad range of air and ground maneuvers, including surveillance, attack, and search-and-rescue operations.

The military equipment provided through US military assistance is maintained and operated by Lebanese soldiers and airmen, demonstrating "the capacity of the LAF to generate trained and ready forces for operations", the US embassy said in a statement.

Last week, the US delivered a new batch of armoured vehicles and weapons to the LAF, valued at nearly $60 million.

Since 2006, the US government has provided Lebanon over $1.7 billion in security assistance, according to the embassy statement.

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