Africa AMU Homeland Security Intelligence Opinion Terrorism

U.S. Increases Footprint in Africa

By William Tucker

In October of 2011, the U.S. deployed 100 Special Forces soldiers to Uganda for training local forces in the fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army. Today, AFRICOM stated that U.S. forces are now working against the LRA in Uganda, Central African Republic, South Sudan, and Congo. There was no word on whether the troop level was increased to facilitate this expansion of operations, however. Depending on the mission and agreements with local governments it would seem that a troop level increase would have to occur. Regardless of troop size, it may seem strange that the Washington would want to tackle a militant group that doesn’t directly target the U.S., but there may be a good reason to do so. Militant groups, regardless of political ideology, tend to cooperate when the situation dictates. This occurred in July 2010 when Somalia’s al-Shabaab used the LRA to facilitate a suicide bombing in Kampala, Uganda. With the increasing pressure being put on al-Shabaab in Somalia the likelihood of a repeat attack against nations with troops in Mogadishu cannot be ruled out. Washington’s support of counterterrorist operations in these nations serves to support its endeavors in other locations. It also serves to lay the ground work for future cooperation in sub-Saharan Africa. This may be a short term deployment, but it does serve long term goals.

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