U.S. Africom reports coordinated regional gains vs Al Qaida, Al Shabab

Special to WorldTribune.com

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military has reported progress in the war against Al Qaida’s network in North Africa.

U.S. African Command head Gen. David Rodriguez cited Al Qaida Organization in the Islamic Maghreb as well as Al Shabab.

Gen. David Rodriguez.
Gen. David Rodriguez.

“Partners in east, north and west Africa have made progress in countering violent extremist organizations such as Al Shabab and Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb,” Rodriguez said.

In a briefing on Oct. 23, Rodriguez said Africom has helped coordinate North African and other countries to battle AQIM, long centered in Algeria and neighboring Mali. The general said the U.S. effort was being coordinated with the State Department.

“Our focus continues to be on strengthening the African defense capabilities so that Africans can solve this problem themselves,” Rodriguez said. “We work very hard with all the troop-contributing nations to help best prepare them to support their operational efforts.”

Africom has been struggling to find permanent headquarters in Africa.
But commanders said more and more Arab and sub-Saharan states were working
with the latest U.S. military unit for conventional and counter-insurgency
exercises and operations.

Another focus of the military and the State Department has been Al
Shabab, linked to an attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya in
September 2013 in which 70 people were killed. Officials said Africom shared
intelligence on the attackers as well as increased the capability of
Somalia’s military.

“Al Shabab looks for soft targets, because other targets are being made
harder to get after,” Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda
Thomas-Greenfield said. “We know we must continue those efforts to go after
Al Shabab so that we don’t see those kinds of attacks happen again.”

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