US sends 40 troops to Niger to assist with Mali conflict
AFPWASHINGTON -- U.S. President Barack Obama sent 40 additional soldiers to Niger to help with intelligence efforts as French and African troops battle an Islamist insurgency in neighboring Mali, the White House said in a letter to Congress Friday.
February 23, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
The U.S. troops join another 60 or so already in the West African country, and are tasked with providing “support for intelligence collection and will also facilitate intelligence sharing with French forces conducting operations in Mali, and with other partners in the region,” the president said.
The deployment was completed on Wednesday, according to the letter, which informs Congress, per laws that require lawmakers to be kept aware of such deployments.
A U.S. official said last month that the Pentagon was planning to station drones in the region — most likely in Niger — to bolster surveillance of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and its allies, a move Niger had welcomed.