The Pentagon has deployed a small number of U.S. military personnel to Yemen as part of a larger effort to help an Arab ground force battling al-Qaeda around a key port city, the U.S. military said Friday.

The team was deployed about two weeks ago to support a coalition of the United Arab Emirates and Yemeni ground forces who have successfully driven al-Qaeda militants from Mukalla, a port city on the Gulf of Aden.

“This is strictly about routing AQAP out of Mukalla,” said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, referring to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. “We view this as short term.” He did not say how many were deployed.

The deployment is part of an effort to assist the coalition by providing planning advice, intelligence, naval interdiction and aerial refueling.