Operation Barkhane: France’s Counter-Terrorism Forces in Africa

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A French soldier from the 12th Armored Division uses his binoculars while standing atop an armored vehicle during the regional anti-insurgent Operation Barkhane in Inaloglog, Mali, on October 17, 2017. 

24 October 2017 | Alan Taylor| The Atlantic

What began as a French military reaction to an Islamic insurgency in Mali in 2012 has now grown into a more permanent and cross-border counter-terrorism effort by France and five African nations called Operation Barkhane.

Currently, about four thousand French soldiers are involved, based in Mali, Chad, Niger, Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso, and operating across the entire southern Sahara region.

France’s military is also coordinating with West African forces, UN peacekeeping forces, and other allied military operations in the area.

Reuters photographer Benoit Tessier spent several days in Mali with some of these French soldiers and their Malian partners recently.

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French soldiers are pictured at the Operational Desert Platform Camp (PfOD) in Gao, Mali, on October 12, 2017, during Operation Barkhane

 

French Mirage 2000s Came to the Rescue of Green Berets in Niger  The delta-wing fighters have fought in Africa for years

Bottles filled with petrol are seen at a stand as French soldiers conduct a CIMIC (Civil-Military Co-operation) patrol during the regional anti-insurgent Operation Barkhane in Gao
Bottles filled with gasoline sit in a stand as French soldiers conduct a patrol in Gao on October 14, 2017.

 

Operation Barkhane is an ongoing anti-insurgent operation in Africa’s Sahel region, which commenced 1 August 2014. It consists of a 3,000-strong French force, which will be permanent and headquartered in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad.

 

A French soldier greets a child as soldiers conduct a CIMIC (Civil-Military Co-operation) patrol during the regional anti-insurgent Operation Barkhane in Gao
A French soldier greets a child as soldiers conduct a CIMIC patrol in Gao on October 14, 2017.

 

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French soldiers conduct a CIMIC (Civil-Military Cooperation) patrol during Operation Barkhane in Gao, Mali, on October 14, 2017.

 

Just How Closely Are US and French Forces Cooperating in Niger?  New details suggest a more ad hoc arrangement than the Pentagon has previously suggested was the case.

 

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French soldiers prepare their armored vehicles for a patrol in Ansongo, Mali, on October 15, 2017

 

Chad was included in Trump’s travel ban because it ran out of passport paper This is the story of how an office supply glitch became a major irritant between the United States and one of its close security partners.

 

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French armored vehicles stand at the Relay Desert Platform Camp in Ansongo, Mali, on October 15, 2017

 

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French soldiers play volleyball at the Operational Desert Platform Camp in Gao, Mali, on October 13, 2017

 

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A French soldier mans a watchtower at the Relay Desert Platform Camp (PfDR) in Ansongo, Mali, on October 15, 2017, as part of Operation Barkhane

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