Pentagon says U.S. involvement in Mali limited

Pentagon says U.S. involvement in Mali limited
# 23 January 2013 03:23 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. The Pentagon spokesman George Little said Tuesday that U.S. armed forces have had limited involvement in the French military mission in Mali, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Little made the remarks while addressing a press briefing held here Tuesday.

According to Little, the U.S. assistance to France has been limited in logistics support and intelligence. He said U.S. Air Force has flown five C-17 sorties moving about 80 French troops and more than 124 tons of supplies and equipment into Mali, as of Tuesday.

Apart from that the U.S. side "provided information in support of the French since their operations began in Mali, ... and we continue to consult with the French on further steps that we may take as U.S. government to support their efforts in Mali."

Little wouldn't discuss unarmed U.S. surveillance drones reportedly being considered for use over Mali at French request. He also declined to discuss the use of special-operations forces in the conflict.

"Our support of French operations in Mali does not involve what is traditionally referred to as boots on the ground," Little told reporters.

On Jan. 11, Paris confirmed its military operations in Mali to back the government forces in fighting the rebels, who briefly seized the central town of Konna and threatened the southern part of Mali, including the capital Bamako.

The French defense ministry said that about 2,150 French forces are involved in the operation, with the purposes of carrying out surveillance and observing the movement of the rebel fighters, and waging targeted raids against the rebels who have been identified on the ground.