May 2, 2013
The Pentagon has deployed a small number of troops to Mali to support allied forces fighting there, despite repeated pledges by the Obama administration not to put “boots on the ground” in the war-torn African country.
About 10 U.S. military personnel are in Mali to provide “liaison support” to French and African troops but are not engaged in combat operations, said Lt. Col. Robert Firman, a Pentagon spokesman. Twelve others are assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Bamako, the capital, he added.
The Pentagon had previously said that it had no intention of sending troops to Mali and that it would involve itself in the conflict only at arm’s length — by providing aerial refueling to French warplanes and sharing intelligence with allies. It also said that it would ferry soldiers from neighboring African countries to Mali on U.S. troop transport planes but that the aircraft would not remain in the country.