The funds pledge, which must now be discussed with Congress, will bolster the U.S.’s regional partners in their fight against Islamic State and other terrorist networks, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in the statement.
To that end, pending consultation with Congress, the United States is today pledging up to $60 million dollars to support the G5 Sahel Joint Force’s counterterrorism efforts. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the USA is pledging up to $60 million to support a task force of African nations that will address terrorism and organized crime in the Sahel region.
Washington is wary of funding the G5 through the United Nations at a time when the Trump administration is aiming to cut U.N. expenditures on peacekeeping operations around the world, and has indicated it prefers to support the force on a bilateral basis.
A State Department spokesperson told CNN the funding is being provided as bilateral assistance, rather than through the United Nations, which USA officials previously indicated they wanted to avoid. Military officials have said the team was in the area to conduct surveillance on a terrorist leader.
The U.S. counterterrorism mission in Niger has been heavily scrutinized following an October 4 ambush that killed four Army Green Berets. Along with Islamic State, several al-Qaida-linked groups operate in the Sahel region, including al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Nigeria-based Boko Haram.
Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyUN: Assad government responsible for April sarin gas attack Haley escorted from refugee camp amid protest U.S. officials to recommend Tillerson label Rohingya violence “ethnic cleansing” MORE will “represent the United States and our full commitment to security in the Sahel region in my place”.