U.S. has deployed drone in Niger to provide intelligence collection to French Forces in Mali 2402132

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Defence News - United States

 
 
Sunday, February 24, 2013, 08:42 AM
 
United States has deployed drone in Niger to provide intelligence collection to French Forces in Mali.
U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday, February 22, 2013, that his country has deployed about 100 military personnel to the West African country of Niger. Obama said the deployment "will provide support for intelligence collection and will also facilitate intelligence sharing with French forces conducting operations in Mali and with other partners in the region."
     
U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday, February 22, 2013, that his country has deployed about 100 military personnel to the West African country of Niger. Obama said the deployment "will provide support for intelligence collection and will also facilitate intelligence sharing with French forces conducting operations in Mali and with other partners in the region."
An MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft prepares for takeoff in support of operations in Southwest Asia.
(Credit photo U.S. Air Force)
     

The drone base will allow the US to give France more intelligence on the militants its forces have been fighting in Mali, which neighbors Niger. Over time, it could extend the reach not only of American intelligence-gathering but also US special operations missions to strengthen Niger’s own security forces.

One of the two US defense officials who discussed the development confirmed the American troops would fly drones and other surveillance platforms from Niger military airstrips, tracking militant and refugee movement inside Mali and around the border. The US will share that intelligence with Niger’s military, the official said.

The drones at the Niger base will be unarmed and used for surveillance, not airstrikes. Still, the development of a base in Niger raises the possibility that it could eventually be used for launching strikes.

 

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