Failure of US war on terror in Africa

America’s global war on terror has seen its share of stalemates, disasters, and outright defeats. During 20-plus years of armed interventions, the United States has watched its efforts implode in spectacular fashion, from Iraq in 2014 to Afghanistan in 2021.

The greatest failure of its “Forever Wars,” however, may not be in the Middle East, but in Africa. “Our war on terror begins with al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated,” President George W. Bush told the American people in the immediate wake of the 9/11 attacks, noting specifically that such militants had designs on vast regions of Africa.

To shore up that front, the US began a decades-long effort to provide copious amounts of security assistance, train many thousands of African military officers, set up dozens of outposts, dispatch its own commandos on all manner of missions, create proxy forces, launch drone strikes, and even engage in direct ground combat with militants in Africa. Most Americans, including members of Congress, are unaware of the extent of these operations. As a result, few realise how dramatically America’s shadow war there has failed. This year, militant Islamist groups in Africa have, according to the Pentagon, already conducted 6, 756 attacks. In other words, since the US ramped up its counterterrorism operations in Africa, terrorism has spiked 75, 000%.

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