Africom Commander visits Mali


US Army General Stephen Townsend, commander, US Africa Command, travelled to Bamako, Mali, on 23 September, accompanied by US Africa Command Deputy Commander for Civil-Military Engagement Ambassador Andrew Young. While in Mali, Townsend met US Ambassador to Mali Dennis Hankins, Malian transition President Assimi Goita, and Malian Minister of Defence Sadio Camara.

In discussions with transition President Goita, Townsend discussed the shared sacrifices of Malian, US, and international forces in seeking to improve security and stability in Mali and the Sahel. Townsend reaffirmed that US Africa Command stands in solidarity with the armed forces and people of Mali as they counter violent extremism.

“Malian and international partner forces have shed blood together while fighting against the terrorists that threaten innocent civilians in Mali and the Sahel,” said Townsend. “We want to continue this longstanding partnership.”

Townsend, Young, and Goita also discussed the need for the transitional government to adhere to its commitment to hold credible, transparent elections and transfer power to a democratically elected government by April 2022.

“Mali is at a critical juncture,” said Young. “The best way to achieve progress in Mali’s security and prosperity is to transition back to a democratic, civilian-led government that is responsive to the needs of the Malian people.”

During their meeting with Minister of Defence Camara, Townsend emphasized the significant security and development support the US and partners have provided to Mali over the years, both bilaterally and through international partners such as the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, Minusma.

Building on the United States’ long-standing partnership with Mali, US Africa Command remains committed to promoting a secure, stable and prosperous future as Mali transitions to a civilian-led democratically elected government in service of the Malian people, the command said.