The US military has set up a plan to deploy troops and spies to African nations in a purported bid to counter what it describes as ‘a growing terrorist threat’ by the shadowy, Saudi-linked al-Qaeda terror franchise.
Nearly 4,000 US soldiers from the Army’s Dagger Brigade are due to be dispatched “throughout Africa” in “small teams” beginning next spring to “train African troops on everything from logistics and marksmanship to medical care,” major US government-funded radio network NPR reports in a Tuesday broadcast.
Meanwhile, the report notes, “The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is already placing more of its military spies in Africa.”
The move suggests that US has much broader objectives in African than simply offering military training to soldiers across the mostly impoverished continent.
The newly intensified US focus on Africa comes following the growing influence of Islamic awakening movements in North Africa which has so far led to the overthrow of three US-backed dictators in regional countries, namely Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
The top American commander for Africa Gen. Carter Ham said in a recent Washington gathering that the new US effort in Africa is more comprehensive and essential given the emerging security threats across the continent.
While American military authorities have widely expressed concerns that al-Qaeda and its affiliates are widely operating across Africa, from Nigeria through Mali, Libya and into Somalia, Gen. Ham insists that there are signs that such groups are working in coordination.
“What I worry about more than anything is a growing linkage which I think poses the greatest threat to regional stability across Africa, certainly into Europe and to the United States as well,” Ham is quoted as saying.
To counter the alleged threat, the report adds, the Obama administration “wants to rely on African forces. That means giving them proper equipment and training.”
This is while the top American commander in Africa further noted that the brigade has a “small drone capability” that could be used in Africa, acknowledgeing that he would need special permission from Pentagon to use it for “that kind of mission.”
Though he did not elaborate, the US military, as well as its main spy agency, the CIA, have regularly been involved in using pilotless assassination drones to bombard alleged al-Qaeda suspects and strongholds in Africa, Middle East and Pakistan. Most of those killed by American terror drones, however, have reportedly been civilians.