RealNews

U.S. Training African Forces to Uproot Terrorists

The American campaign against terrorism is opening a new front in a region that military officials fear could become the next base for Al Qaeda — the largely ungoverned swath of territory stretching from the Horn of Africa to the Western Sahara’s Atlantic coast. Generals here at the United States European Command, which oversees the area, say the vast, arid region is a new Afghanistan, with well-financed bands of Islamic militants recruiting, training and arming themselves. Terrorist attacks like the one on March 11 in Madrid that killed 191 people seem to have a North African link, investigators say, and may presage others in Europe. Having learned from missteps in Afghanistan and Iraq, the American officers are pursuing this battle with a new approach. Instead of planning on a heavy American military presence, they are dispatching Special Operations forces to countries like Mali and Mauritania in West Africa to train soldiers and outfit them with pickup trucks, radios and global-positioning equipment. Full Story

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