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Efforts to Combat Violent Extremist Groups in Sahel Region are ‘Not Getting the Job Done,’ Says AFRICOM Leader

Efforts to Combat Violent Extremist Groups in Sahel Region are ‘Not Getting the Job Done,’ Says AFRICOM Leader by Diana Stancy Correll - Military Times

U.S. and international efforts to combat violent extremist organization in West Africa aren’t working, according to U.S. Africa Command commander Army Gen. Stephen Townsend.

Despite French-led efforts in the Sahel region to combat groups including Boko Haram and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, AFRICOM says violent extremist activity in West Africa has increased 250 percent since 2018.

“The Western and international and African efforts there are not getting the job done,” Townsend told lawmakers on the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. “ISIS and al-Qaida are on the march in West Africa. They’re having success, and international efforts are not.”

“I do believe that if ISIS can carve out a new caliphate, or al-Qaida can, they will attempt to do it in West Africa,” Townsend said.

Townsend credited violent extremist groups’ gains to African partners’ lack of capacity or capability to tackle such issues, coupled with uncoordinated and insufficient assistance from Western and international allies…

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