US Secretly Training and Funding 'Elite' African Commandos

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Common Dreams

US Secretly Training and Funding 'Elite' African Commandos

New York Times reporting sheds light on millions of dollars in classified Pentagon funds being put towards so-called "counter-terrorism" programs

Special Forces Green Beret soldiers (Photo: U.S. Army / Wikimedia Creative Commons)

The Pentagon has been secretly backing a U.S. Special Operations program to build elite units to fight "terrorism" in Libya, Niger, Mauritania and Mali, the New York Times revealed Monday.

The program was launched last year and is backed by millions of dollars in classified Pentagon funds. U.S. military trainers, including members of the Green Berets and Delta Force, are working with African "commandos" to "build homegrown African counterterrorism teams," according to the Times.

According to the reporting, $70 million in Pentagon funds is going towards "training, intelligence-gathering equipment and other support" for commandos in Nigeria and Mauritania. And $16 million is going towards commandos in Libya. In Mauritnaia, $29 million has been allotted for "logistics and surveillance equipment in support of the specialized unit." According to the Times, the program in Mali "has yet to get off the ground as a new civilian government recovers from a military coup last year."

The U.S. military has for years been increasing its role across the continent of Africa, including the expansion of AFRICOM, drone attacks in Somalia, air strikes and arms shipments to Libya, and more.

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