- The Washington Times - Monday, August 11, 2014

President Obama authorized $10 million Monday to help France with counter-terrorism efforts in three western African countries.

In a notice to Congress, Mr. Obama said “an unforeseen emergency exists that requires immediate military assistance to France” to help combat violent Islamist extremists in Mali, Niger, and Chad.

Mr. Obama sent a small contingent of non-combat U.S. troops to help the French in Mali in 2013. They were reportedly to serve as advisers on intelligence, transportation and other issues.

France had planned to withdraw troops from Mali several months ago, but there has been renewed fighting in the Sahel region, prompting the French to retain a force of around 3,000 soldiers. The Islamist insurgency in northern Mali emerged after the fall of the Libyan regime of Col. Moammar Qaddafi.

The aid for Mali is awkward for the administration, in part, because human rights groups have accused the Mali government’s troops of abuses ranging from extrajudicial killings to torture in the fight against the militants.