President Trump’s inexplicable fight with the widow of a Green Beret who was killed in Niger has sparked a political firestorm that shows no signs of dying down. It’s also brought new attention to a little-known aspect of Washington’s ongoing war on terror: The Pentagon is rapidly expanding its presence in Africa and is now engaged in military operations — including active combat — in more than half a dozen African countries.
It’s a fight that takes place largely in the shadows, led by small teams of US special operations forces. In Somalia, Navy SEALs are hunting members of al-Qaeda and ISIS-linked militants from groups like al-Shabaab (one of the commandos died in a botched raid earlier this year). In Libya, they’re carrying out counterterror missions like the one that capturedAhmed Abu Khattala, a militant linked to the deadly assault on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi. And in Djibouti, the US flies armed drones out of a major airbase at Camp Lemonnier, which is also used for counterterrorism and counter-piracy operations in the region.
Read the full op-ed in Vox.