A Pentagon report has found that Islamist extremists ambushed and killed four U.S. troops in Niger last October after a series of missteps left the Americans exposed and vulnerable in a remote corner of the African nation.
The Pentagon has sent the classified report to Congress and military officers have started to brief the families of the soldiers who were killed. The report has not been released publicly, but an official who has seen it described it to NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman.
The mission began on Oct. 3, when 12 Americans, led by Green Berets, joined with a larger force of Nigerien troops on a routine patrol in the southwest part of the country, near the border with Mali.
The Americans have been in Niger since 2013 to train, advise and assist the Nigerien military in its battle with extremists linked to the Islamic State. The Americans are not supposed to take part in combat unless they come under fire.