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The Crossroads of Special Operations

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Inquiry of Soldiers’ Deaths Urges Curtailing West Africa Missions | The New York Times

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Some current and former Pentagon policy officials and military commanders in Africa expressed skepticism about curtailing the training and advising missions in which American troops accompany local forces on ground patrols in West Africa.

“I’m not sure retreating from programs is the answer,” said Brian McKeon, a former top Pentagon policy official who visited Niger in 2015. “If we’re not going to do that kind of training, why are we there?”

Officials said that the scaling back of those missions, as called for in the report, would not apply to Libya or Somalia, where the United States has been engaging with local forces to fight the Islamic State and the militant group aligned with Al Qaeda known as the Shabab.

Brig. Gen. Donald C. Bolduc, who until last summer commanded United States Special Operations forces in Africa, said that at the time he left, American advisers were accompanying specially trained and equipped counterterrorism units in Tunisia, Cameroon and Niger.

Source: Inquiry of Soldiers’ Deaths Urges Curtailing West Africa Missions | The New York Times

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