‘Great Game’ in Sahel: Europe Forms New Task Force, US Eyes Drawdown, Terrorists Team Up

On March 27, france and its allies established a new task force, dubbed Takuba, to fight terrorism in Africa’s Sahel. It comes as the US reviews its military posture globally, prompting rumors about a complete withdrawal or a significant troop drawdown in West Africa and a potential end to logistical and intelligence support to the forces of France, a major player in the region.

In an apparent response to the Pentagon’s call for “other European allies to assist as well in the region” to “offset whatever changes” to the US strategy in Africa, 11 European countries (Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, and the UK) thereby joined forces in a Paris-led task force to fight terrorists in the region alongside the armies of Mali and Niger.

The mission is set to be deployed to the region as early as this summer and reach its full operation capacity by early 2021.

It will be under the command of France’s regional counter-insurgency operation Barkhane but will have a high level of autonomy. The task force vows to work closely with a myriad of other missions on the ground, such as G5 Sahel, MINUSMA and EU missions across the region (EUTM Mali, EUCAP Mali and EUCAP Niger).

Number of Missions Multiplies, So Does Violence on the Ground

The international community has maintained a significant presence in the Sahel since the establishment of MINUSMA, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization…

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