WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has agreed to journey tankers to help refuel French aircraft mma fighters in addition to bombers assaulted al Qaeda-affiliated militants who have recognized some sort of foothold with north Mali, U.S. safeguard officers said on Saturday.
The decision, in reaction for you to an previously French request, expands U.S. involvement, which hence far has become minimal to be able to expressing brains plus delivering airlift assistance that will take your French mechanized infantry component to Mali.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta explained to their French counterpart, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, concerning the U.S. choice to offer aerial refueling service within a cellphone call on Saturday, Pentagon spokesman George Little said from a statement.
France intervened militarily with Mali two weeks before that will halt the improvement of al Qaeda-affiliated militants that presented an offensive this confronted the Malian capital, Bamako, from the south belonging to the country.
For not one but two weeks, French jets and helicopter gunships have been pursuing this retreating Islamists, attacking his or her vehicles, command blogposts as well as weapons depots. The intent is to prevent the progress with the rebels right until forces from your ECOWAS collection regarding West African nations can deploy to look at in the fight.
A U.S. protection official, speaking on issue of anonymity, said three U.S. KC-135 tankers would provide aerial refueling when essential to French aircraft, including tactical jets in addition to bombers. The U.S. planes will be stationed at Moron Air Base in Spain.
The defense official explained that United States likely the actual tankers to be involved with that procedure for a time period of months as needed. They will probably be managing underneath the actual U.S. Africa Command, that coordinates U.S. armed service direction along with African countries nevertheless is based in Germany.
In his telephone call along with Le Drian, Panetta commended France intended for foremost the fight against Malian rebels associated with al Qaeda within the Islamic Maghreb and also listed that "recent functional achievements have aided turn backside terrorist advances," Little explained within the statement.
Little said Panetta as well as Le Drian likewise reviewed programs for that United States to help transport troops through African nations, like Chad and Togo, compliment your overseas work around Mali.
Panetta has stated the particular United States provides no plans to put overcome troops with Mali. Defense administrators have said a tiny variety of U.S. military employees had been briefly with the airport terminal inside Bamako in order to take care of the logistics on the airlift regarding hundreds of French troops and a pile of supplies.
(Reporting By David Alexander and Phil Stewart; editing by means of Philip Barbara)