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Vol 48 No 19

Published 21st September 2007

Boots nearer to the ground

Washington seeks Anglo-French support as it steps up its military presence in Africa

British and French officers are being invited to join the United States’ planned Africa Command (AfriCom) as ‘fully integrated’ officers, US officials have told Africa Confidential. AfriCom’s Public Affairs Director, Colonel Patrick Mackin, said the Pentagon envisaged ‘foreign military officers as part of the staff, not just as liaison officers… That’s the goal. We would like to get that level of participation.’ This development, which is likely to draw heavy political opposition in London and Paris, shows that Washington is taking security matters in Africa, including terrorism and oil, increasingly seriously.

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