5 March 2014
US attempts to balance its military involvement in Africa and its budget
While the US military involvement in Africa, Niger in particular, seeks to combat Islamist militants, the government does not want to put a lot of soldiers and money into the African region. Therefore, the Obama administration focuses their involvement on training and advising African troops, and providing assistance to European allies that have forces in the region as well. Part of the US mission in Niger is to train African troops to conduct combat patrols and how to foil terrorist ambushes, however, the US also helped organise a medical clinic in a nearby village. The US has spent USD 33 million in the past two years on building Niger’s counterterrorism abilities and providing equipment. Additionally, the US mission also focuses on assisting its European allies in the region, for example, the US has provided intelligence to France, which has soldiers in Mali.
American officials consider the US involvement as a supporting role to local and international forces, rather than being a primary combatant in Africa’s various wars. This US support includes acts such as transporting peacekeepers from Burundi and Rwanda to the Central African Republic and flying unarmed reconnaissance drones in Mali to support French and African troops, rather than boots on the ground.