Botswana to host major US military conference

GABORONE. – The US has been pushed out of Chad and Niger, but next week it will host senior military commanders from at least 40 African countries in Botswana.

That is barely down from the 43 it hosted in Italy last year, at the African Chiefs of Defence Conference it has run since 2017. The Botswana meeting will be the first one on African soil.

The meeting is under the auspices of the US-Africa Command (Africom), with the mission to encourage new and greater collaboration on security and stability.

It hopes for both an exchange of knowledge and to “forge enduring partnerships”, said Africom’s public affairs office ahead of the meeting.

In previous meetings, military commanders shared stories of how their forces operate in different parts of Africa and the challenges they face.

It is only one part of ongoing US efforts on the continent, which in April and May this year included African Lion military exercises held jointly with Ghana, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia, with more than 8 000 participants from 27 African countries and NATO members.

Kenya will attend the summit as the only Sub-Saharan African country that was designated as a major non-NATO ally in May.

However, in the past two years, some African countries have moved to strengthen ties with Russia, particularly in the Sahel region where the US’ fight against jihadism is concentrated.

In April 2024, the ruling military council in Chad, led by General Mahamat Idriss Deby, asked the US to stop using an air force base located in N’Djamena. –

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