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US Might Step Up Involvement in Mali

Considers sending refueling planes for French jets: New York Times
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2013 11:00 AM CST
US Might Step Up Involvement in Mali
Malian people welcome French soldiers as they arrive in the city of Sevare on Friday.   (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

The US has provided modest tactical and intelligence aid to France so far in its fight against al-Qaeda-linked militants in Mali, but the New York Times reports that US officials are now considering a notable increase—sending in aerial refueling planes for French fighter jets. Talks have been under way for days, and the main US concern is a familiar one: It doesn't want to get entangled in another "open-ended mission," says one Pentagon official.

That concern illustrates a quandary for the White House, the Times points out: It loves the concept of what France has done—a country not named the United States taking charge of an international force—but it's also worried that France jumped in a little early. Expect a decision on the refueling planes soon. Separately, the US has asked Congress to approve $32 million to train African troops fighting the militants, reports AP. Meanwhile, French-led forces on the ground seized an airport inside militant territory today, reports the BBC. (Read more Mali stories.)

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