US release Oct 17 Niger Ambush report summary


Quite surprisingly there didn't seem to be a thread or a post about this fairly significant event last October.

It is a very sobering read

For those not in the picture, on 4 Oct17 a US SF training team and some of their students in Niger went into a find fix strike operation in response to some hot info. This wasn't succesful and on returning to base, they were themselves ambushed resulting in 4 dead US 5 dead Nigeriens for 21 jihadis.

It flagged up that despite French efforts on Barkhane, in the less governed space of the Mali/Niger border a group of quite potent jihadis have been developing capability and mass.

This incident also led to thousands of Americans learning where/what Niger* was and Trump not being great on the phone with one of the widows. Tongo Tongo ambush - Wikipedia

As a result, the construction of a major drone base near Agadez has been accelerated to complement flights already out of Niamey, and the permission for weapons carriage agreed.

A Shadowy War’s Newest Front: A Drone Base Rising From Saharan Dust

All in all - warming up the region nicely for the arrival of RAF Chinooks in Mali later this year......

Edit to add: Duffelblog's opinion on AFRICOM investigating itself is a little more cynical
Africa Command investigates itself, finds no problems

* "Next to Nigeria? and they are called Nigeriens not Nigerians?"l
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You realise that Mali nearly completely fell in 2012
Not quite accurate. you might be conflating 3 linked but distinct events: a. Jan - Apr 2012 Northern unrest due to returning Tuaregs from Libya leading to UDI of Azawad, b. Mar-Apr 2012 the Southern Coup by the Military in response to mishandling of Northern revolt and then c. the run for Bamako in Jan 2013 by Iyad Ag Ghali in an effort to unifying the 3 squabbling/"atomising"* jihadi groups that had subverted/taken over Azawad.
While the overall picture looked bad, it was never really going to go much more south than Mopti/Segou

One interesting argument put forward a few years ago was that the coup was due to a re-balancing of US Military aid and training under the $500m Trans Sahara Counter Terrorist Initiative (successor to the $25m Pan Sahel Initiative), focusing on developing the Red Berets** as a Bn+/Bde- CT force. This took away the penny packeting of training and capacity building across the whole Malian Army including the Green Berets, who were bearing the brunt of the fight in the north and who disproportionately felt the loss of even this little bit of support.

* PFJ/JPF/Splitters analogies are very appropriate here
**The Red Berets were also ATT's pseudo Praetorian Guard
This video also came out back in may - gives wider sense of the situation the troops rolled in to, the time scale and ground covered is also quite sobering.


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