U.S. C-17s helping supply French ops in Mali
The U.S. military is conducting ongoing flight operations in the African country of Mali in support of the French-led mission targeting militants linked to the group al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, also known as AQIM.
At least five C-17 Globemaster aircraft have flown into an airfield in Bamako, the capital of Mali, carrying 80 French troops and about 124 tons of supplies, Pentagon spokesman George Little said Tuesday.
A small contingent of U.S. troops may be at the airfield in support of the flight operations, but ground-based support will remain limited, officials said.
“There are no plans at this time to conduct traditional boots-on-the-ground operations in support of the French mission,” Little told reporters at the Pentagon.
U.S. officials may expand the operation to include aerial refueling support to French aircraft with U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotankers, Little said. “We will work in consultation with the French to determine what their capacity is,” Little said.