The US is looking into supporting French military intervention in its former African colony of Mali, by offering to provide “surveillance drones” as it has already declared its backing of moves against Malian militants.
US commanders were further considering other options such as “providing intelligence and aerial refueling tankers” as well as “logistical backup and boosting intelligence sharing,” involving its surveillance drones, AFP reported Friday, quoting an unnamed US official that spoke on condition of anonymity.
The report also quotes its anonymous source as saying that senior American officials held talks with their French counterparts as well as authorities from other European allies in Paris on “an action plan” against militants controlling a northern portion of the Muslim country.
The US military holds a network of major air bases in Italy, Spain and other western European countries and could back the French military intervention by providing it with refueling tankers and other logistical assistance.
Paris-backed Malian government forces, the report says, began a military offensive against militants that have seized control of the north of the West African states with aerial support from French war planes.
French President Francois Hollande has confirmed his country’s military intervention against what he has described as ‘al-Qaeda-linked radicals’ in Mali.
Previously, the US had raised alarms about the militants in Mali, blaming them for involvement in an attack against the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya that led to the killing of its ambassador and three CIA operatives in the neighboring country.
The US National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor is also cited in the report as vowing support for French objectives in the West African country.
“We have noted that the government of Mali has asked for support, and we share the French goal of denying terrorists a safe haven in the region,” he is quoted as saying in the report.
Hollande, meanwhile, has insisted that France’s military intervention in Mali would continue “for as long as is necessary.”
- French troops begin military intervention in Mali: Hollande (alethonews.wordpress.com)