ADAM ENTOUS and DREW HINSHAW
July 27, 2012
The U.S. is considering new steps to counter an emerging haven for al Qaeda militants in Mali, officials said, ranging from working more with local forces to more direct intervention should the U.S. be threatened.
American and European counterterrorism officials have watched with alarm in recent months as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, established a significant presence in the north of Mali, in western Africa. The extremists have taken advantage of a power vacuum left by a military coup in the capital earlier this year.
Michael Sheehan, assistant U.S. defense secretary for special operations, said Thursday at the Aspen Institute security forum that the U.S. “can’t allow al Qaeda to sit in ungoverned space” in the north of Mali.