October 5, 2017
By U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs, United States Africa Command
Note: New updates will be posted at this link when available.
Update #3: We have updated information related to the attack on U.S. and Nigerien forces that occurred on October 4th in southwest Niger. The body of another U.S. Service Member has been recovered from the area of attack, bringing the number of U.S. Service Members killed in this attack to four.
Our thoughts and prayers are on the families of the deceased. We will share more information as it becomes available related to this attack.
US Troop Deaths In Niger Reflect Growing Africa Mission Creep
Just as the establishment of CENTCOM in 1983 gave way to decades of US wars in the Middle East, the AFRICOM creation in 2007 has sewn the seeds for American wars across Africa.
October 7, 2017
That the United States had special forces deployed in Niger wasn’t exactly a secret before the announcement that four US troops were killed in an ambush near the Malian border. It wasn’t exactly public knowledge, either.
The report that the US was sending troops to Niger for “training” back in 2015 was scarcely reported. The first indication that this had expanded to participating in patrols came alongside the first deaths.
This is a classic sign of mission creep, and it’s hardly the first. Earlier this year, the US sustained its first combat deaths in Somalia in over 20 years. The US deployments in Africa that have been quietly made in the last decade never really end, and once there, US African Command (AFRICOM) is always finding new stuff for them to do.
That’s how troops facilitating arms transfers become trainers, and trainers become embedded troops, and ultimately US special forces are just roaming through the country on combat operations.
This was virtually an inevitability when AFRICOM was founded. Just as the establishment of CENTCOM in 1983 gave way to decades of US wars in the Middle East, the AFRICOM creation in 2007 has sewn the seeds for American wars across Africa.
October 22, 2017
Senators Stunned to Discover We Have 1,000 Troops in Niger
NEVER-ENDING MISSION CREEP
The death of four soldiers has opened eyes to that mission. It’s also raised a question: How can our presence there be justified by a law passed in 2001?
The death of four U.S. Special Operations Forces troops in Niger has generated a raucous conversation about how presidents should comfort bereft Gold Star families.
But, quietly, it’s fueling a more difficult debate than whether a phone call or a letter suffices in the aftermath of tragedy; mainly, why were U.S. troops in the country in the first place, and does Congress need to exert more authority when it comes such deployments?
Many lawmakers assiduously duck these questions. But on the Sunday shows, several were forced to address them in the aftermath of four soldiers dying under still-mysterious circumstances near the small town of Tongo Tongo. In the process, two powerful Senators tacitly admitted that they hadn’t even known the extent of U.S. involvement in Niger in the first place.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of the chamber’s most hawkish members, told host Chuck Todd on Meet the Press that he didn’t know until recently that a thousand U.S. troops are stationed in Niger.
Graham is on the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, tasked with overseeing the Pentagon. And he made the admission when Todd pressed him on whether Congress needs to vote on an Authorization of Use of Military Force (AUMF) for that mission.
“The military determines who the threats are, they come up with the engagement policy and if we don’t like what the military does, we can defund the operation,” Graham said. “But I didn’t know there was a thousand troops in Niger.”