The global coalition to defeat Islamic State is focusing new attention on a region in North and West Africa as the terror group’s “caliphate” has been mostly abolished in Syria and Iraq, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday.
“West Africa and the Sahel would be a preferred area of focus for the coalition outside of the ISIS core space, and with good reason,” Mr. Pompeo said at a meeting with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.
The secretary said efforts to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria will remain, and the new shift into the Sahel region “will complement existing military efforts.”
“We will develop and coordinate our efforts in close cooperation with countries of the Sahel,” he continued.
The Sahel region spans from the Atlantic Ocean across continental Africa to the Red Sea and encompasses Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan and Eritrea.
Mr. Stoltenberg insisted that the fight against ISIS “is not over. ISIS is still a threat.”
Despite several assertions from Trump administration officials earlier this year that the ISIS caliphate was almost completely defeated, analysts and former officials warn that the terrorist organization remains a threat to the U.S. and its allies.