August 23, 2018
A Large, Expensive US Air Force Base in Africa
In July of 2016, Nick Turse wrote at The Intercept about “1,700 Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets, and other military personnel” who were then “carrying out 78 distinct ‘mission sets’ in more than 20 nations” across Africa. This military activity is in line with the increased United States military focus on Africa that Turse described three years earlier in his Tom Dispatch article “The Pivot to Africa: The Startling Size, Scope, and Growth of U.S. Military Operations on the African Continent.” By October of last year, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford was acknowledging the US had “a little over 6,000 forces … in about 53 different countries” in Africa.
This week at The intercept, Turse provides an important update on one aspect of the increased focus on Africa — a US drone base under construction in a remote Niger location that is “the largest base-building effort ever undertaken by troops in the history of the U.S. Air Force, according to Richard Komurek, a spokesperson for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa.”
Many Americans first heard of US military action in Niger last year when several US Special Forces troops were killed there. Americans can expect to hear more about Niger and other African countries in the coming years as more US troops are killed and injured on the continent and as more Africans are killed and injured, and have their property destroyed, in US military actions there, including via drone strikes originating from the US Air Force’s new base in Niger.
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