Photo: AP Images
Sparked by the recent death of US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, as well as three other Americans, the Pentagon is increasing troop numbers in Africa.Militants in Mali are taking over large portions of the country. The influence of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) on the rise. And Secretary of defence Leon Panetta declared that the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, in which Stevens was killed, was the work of terrorists.
Forced out of former strongholds, terrorist groups are expanding their efforts in Africa.
Marine Corps rapid response teams hurried to the region–as well as to Yemen–after the attack, which originally was thought to be part of the protests against an anti-Islamic film.
There were also special operations teams deployed to the area prior to the attack, training the militaries of several African nations.
The US Military has had a presence in Africa for years, including sending special operations troops to train peacekeepers in 1997, and then more to Djibouti for Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa. But the Africa Command (AFRICOM) wasn’t officially created until 2007.
In addition, the National Guard has eight state partnership programs in AFRICOM, in which troops from an American state team up with a country’s military.
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