Operation Barkhane: France's Counterterrorism Forces in Africa

What began as a French military reaction to an Islamic insurgency in Mali in 2012 has now grown into a more permanent and cross-border counter-terrorism effort by France and five African nations called Operation Barkhane. Currently, about four thousand French soldiers are involved, based in Mali, Chad, Niger, Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso, and operating across the entire southern Sahara region. France’s military is also coordinating with West African forces, UN peacekeeping forces, and other allied military operations in the area. Reuters photographer Benoit Tessier spent several days in Mali with some of these French soldiers and their Malian partners recently.

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