The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

January 29, 2013

US eyes drone base in Africa with al-Qaida in mind

(Continued)

Some of the Malian troops that had received U.S. training wound up siding with the rebels in the north, and others who remained loyal to the government proved incapable of standing their ground against the militants.

Adm. Bill McRaven, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, told a Washington conference on Tuesday that the key to future U.S. training operations like that is to ensure that the effort is long-lasting.

"We had an episodic presence in Mali," McRaven said, "and while I don't know if a persistent presence would have changed our relationship with the Malian forces -- whether they would have exponentially gotten better or not. "But in order to work with a host country, you really have to have that persistent presence."

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