The United States Ambassador to Algeria Richard Erdman said the U.S. is soon to begin joint military maneuvers with Algeria, Morocco, Tunis, Senegal and Nigeria.
Officials from the U.S. Defense Department have said the Trans Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative will officially kick off in June with Exercise Flintlock 2005.
The military exercises come in the framework of joint security cooperation in the region aimed to combat terror in Saharan countries. The large unpopulated areas in these countries and a lack of strong government control make the region attractive for terrorists and criminals who wish to operate without detection or interference.
The drills are part of a $100 million American initiative. The U.S. hopes to empower these countries and supply them with technology to combat terrorism and eradicate Al-Qa’ida elements in Africa.
Diplomats say that at a later stage the initiative will extend to other countries such as Mali, Mauritania, Chad and Niger. The American government will also provide services in these countries to improve education and airport security as well as enhance supervision of the money flow in the region.