Africa Defense Forum
ADF is a professional military magazine published quarterly by U.S. Africa Command to provide an international forum for African security professionals. ADF covers topics such as counter terrorism strategies, security and defense operations, transnational crime, and all other issues affecting peace, stability, and good governance on the African continent.

France Partners with Sahel Allies to Launch Operation Barkhane


French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has announced his country’s intention to deploy more than 3,000 Soldiers to begin military operations under a broadened trans-Sahel counter-terrorism initiative set to operate from bases in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

The regional force will have its main air force base in the Chadian capital, N’Djamena; a regional operations base in the Malian city of Gao; a special forces base in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; and an intelligence base in the Nigerien capital, Niamey.

Code-named Operation Barkhane, the operation seeks to track down and disrupt Islamist trans-Sahel jihadist militant networks that retreated into the remote and largely ungoverned pockets of the Sahel to regroup after being pushed out of Mali by French and Chadian forces early in 2013.

Le Drian said the new counterterror operation comes after the successful conclusion of Operation Serval in northern Mali, which drove out al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad, and Ansar al-Dine.

Speaking in July 2014 after the signing of a defense pact that provides for a long-term stationing of 1,200 French troops in Gao, Le Drian said 200 armored personnel carriers, 10 heavy-lift transport aircraft, six fighter planes, 20 helicopters and three unmanned aerial vehicles will be deployed for task force logistics and operations.

He said the force aims to restore security by improving the intelligence-gathering capacities of member states, the training of local forces, and intelligence-sharing by participating regional powers.

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