It appears as though AFRICOM has finally managed to get a foot-hold on the African continent.
This follows the recent US military exercise in Mali, part of a far-ranging programme to train African armies in counter-terrorism aimed at locating and defeating Al Qaeda-inspired militants. Accordingly, a five-year, US$ 500 million agreement has been entered into between the US DoD and Algeria, Chad, Mauritania, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia. Libya is apparently close to joining this partnership.
This programme will apparently include both offensive and passive actions.
Members of the US 10th Special Forces Group which is based in Germany, accompanied by German and Dutch military instructors, are already in Mali busy with training.
It appears as though the strategy is to contain Al Qaeda in North Africa. Whereas this is a positive step forward for AFRICOM, it ought to be realised that this is a process that will take several years to yield fruits.
USAID has also spent approximately US$ 9 million on counter-terrorism measures in the area to support the planned military operations.
Whereas this is a positive step forward, it is hoped that this will not become another case of a “help-and-betray” policy and that this training will not produce another Bin Laden in the ranks of the recruits.