- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 30, 2017

American special operations forces tasked with hunting down infamous Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony have been ordered to stand down, ending the six-year U.S. mission to kill or capture the Lord’s Resistance Army’s chieftain.

While Mr. Kony himself remains in hiding in the dense jungles of Uganda, the LRA’s leadership has been decimated by joint counterterror operations by U.S. troops and Ugandan forces, says U.S. Africa Command statement announcing the end of the operation.

Military operations combined with robust efforts by civilian agencies and non-governmental organizations, have resulted in defections, the capture of key LRA leaders, and decreased threats to civilian populations,” says the statement, released Wednesday.

“As a result … will remove U.S. military forces specifically focused on counter-LRA and transition to broader scope security and stability activities that continue the success of our African partners,” it added.

The mission, dubbed Operation Observant Compass, led by U.S. Special Operations Command-Africa was initiated in 2011 by the Obama administration.

At the time, American troops were sent to the African nation with clear orders to provide intelligence and logistics support to local forces looking to capture Kony and quash the LRA permanently.

But as Kony continued to evade capture, Obama ordered U.S. forces to extend their mission in Uganda in April 2012, in the wake the of the viral campaign #Kony2012 that surged across social media. The video, produced by the nonprofit group Invisible Children put the international spotlight back onto the plight of LRA’s child soldiers.

At its height, U.S. special operations forces established a network of small airbases inside Uganda, utilizing CV-22 Ospreys and aircrews from Air Force Special Operations Command to ferry American special forces and local troops quickly across the country.

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