Five Air Force C-17 transport planes have carried more than 80 French troops and 124 tons of supplies and equipment into the West African country, Pentagon press secretary George Little told reporters.
“We continue to consult with the French on further steps that we may take as the U.S. government to support their effort in Mali,” he said, adding that the U.S. has not asked the French for compensation or reimbursement.
“The focus right now is not on money, but achieving our shared goal of thwarting militants in Mali,” he said.
According to The Associated Press, French and Malian troops arrived Monday in the northern town of Douentza, which Islamists had held for four months, and found that the militants had retreated.
A curfew went into effect at 8 p.m., and no gunfire or other incidents were reported overnight, Mr. Maiga said.
Earlier this month, Mali’s weak central government asked France to help combat Islamists who have taken control of large swaths of the West African country amid the chaos caused by a coup by Malian troops last year.
France now has more than 3,000 troops involved in Operation Serval in Mali, with about 2,000 troops in the country. French fighter jets have struck Islamist strongholds deep inside Mali’s vast northern desert.
The U.N. Security Council has condemned the takeover in the north by Islamist extremist groups and tribal rebels, and authorized a peacekeeping force last year. But the African-led force was not slated to deploy until the fall.
• This article is based in part on wire service reports.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Kristina Wong is a national security reporter for The Washington Times, covering defense, foreign policy and intelligence affairs. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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