Operation Juniper Shield

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Operation Juniper Shield[13]
Part of the War on terror (Islamist insurgency in the Sahel)
A United States special forces NCO watches weapons marksmanship training for a member of a Malian counter-terrorism unit in December 2010.
A United States special forces NCO watches weapons marksmanship training for a member of a Malian counter-terrorism unit in December 2010.[14]
Date6 February 2007 – ongoing
(17 years, 3 months, 3 weeks and 1 day)
Result Ongoing

Mauritania Mauritania
Tunisia Tunisia
Burkina Faso Burkina Faso
Nigeria Nigeria
Cameroon Cameroon
Togo Togo
Ghana Ghana
Ivory Coast Ivory Coast
Benin Benin
Cape Verde Cape Verde
The Gambia Gambia
Guinea Guinea
Guinea-Bissau Guinea-Bissau
Liberia Liberia
Sierra Leone Sierra Leone

Islamic militants

Islamic State ISIL

Commanders and leaders
  • Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune
  • Algeria Nadir Larbaoui
  • Morocco Mohammed VI
  • Morocco Aziz Akhannouch
  • Mauritania Mohamed Ould Ghazouani
  • Mauritania Mohamed Ould Bilal
  • Tunisia Kais Saied
  • Tunisia Ahmed Hachani
  • Burkina Faso Ibrahim Traoré
  • Burkina Faso Apollinaire Joachim Kyélem de Tambèla
  • Chad Mahamat Déby
  • Chad Saleh Kebzabo
  • Mali Assimi Goïta
  • Mali Choguel Kokalla Maïga
  • Niger Abdourahamane Tchiani
  • Niger Ali Lamine Zeine
  • Nigeria Bola Tinubu
  • Senegal Bassirou Diomaye Faye
  • Senegal Ousmane Sonko
  • Cameroon Paul Biya
  • Cameroon Joseph Ngute
  • Togo Faure Gnassingbé
  • Togo Victoire Tomegah Dogbé
  • Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo
  • Ivory Coast Alassane Ouattara
  • Ivory Coast Robert Beugré Mambé
  • Benin Patrice Talon
  • Cape Verde José Maria Neves
  • Cape Verde Ulisses Correia e Silva
  • The Gambia Adama Barrow
  • Guinea Mamady Doumbouya
  • Guinea Bah Oury
  • Guinea-Bissau Umaro Sissoco Embaló
  • Guinea-Bissau Rui Duarte de Barros
  • Liberia Joseph Boakai
  • Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio
  • United States Joe Biden
  • United States Lloyd Austin
  • United Kingdom Charles III
  • United Kingdom Rishi Sunak
  • Canada Mary Simon
  • Canada Justin Trudeau
  • France Emmanuel Macron
  • France Gabriel Attal
  • Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier
  • Germany Olaf Scholz
  • Netherlands Willem-Alexander
  • Netherlands Mark Rutte
  • Spain Felipe VI
  • Spain Pedro Sánchez
  • Denmark Frederik X
  • Denmark Mette Frederiksen
  • Czech Republic Petr Pavel
  • Czech Republic Petr Fiala
  • Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf
  • Sweden Ulf Kristersson
  • Former
    Abdelmalek Droukdel 
    Abu Ubaidah Youssef al-Annabi[15]
    Mokhtar Belmokhtar [16]
    Tiyib Ould Sidi Ali [17]
    Athmane Touati Surrendered[18]
    Winan Bin Yousef (POW)[19]
    1,325+ American advisors & trainers;[3][20]
    900 Moroccans;[20]
    400 Malians;[3]
    250 Algerians;
    200 Chadians;
    <1,000 Mauritanians;[21]
    25 Senegalese medical doctors
    AQIM: 400-4,000[22]
    Tuaregs: ~1,000[23]
    Boko Haram: 300–2,000+[24]
    Casualties and losses
    Unknown Unknown
    Causes: September 11 attacks and 2003 Casablanca bombings

    Operation Juniper Shield, formerly known as Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara (OEF-TS), is the military operation conducted by the United States and partner nations in the Saharan and Sahel regions of Africa, consisting of counterterrorism efforts and policing of arms and drug trafficking across central Africa. It is part of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). The other OEF mission in Africa is Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa (OEF-HOA).

    Congress approved $500 million for the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative (TSCTI) over six years to support countries involved in counterterrorism against alleged threats of al-Qaeda operating in African countries, primarily Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Nigeria, and Morocco.[25] This program builds upon the former Pan Sahel Initiative (PSI), which concluded in December 2004[26] and focused on weapon and drug trafficking, as well as counterterrorism.[27] TSCTI has both military and non-military components to it. OEF-TS is the military component of the program. Civil affairs elements include USAID educational efforts, airport security, Department of the Treasury, and State Department efforts.[28]

    Canada deployed teams of less than 15 CSOR members to Mali throughout 2011 to help combat militants in the Sahara.[2] Although the special forces will not engage in combat, they will train the Malian military in basic soldiering. Areas include communications, planning, first aid, and providing aid to the general populace.[2]


    Operation Enduring Freedom Trans Sahara is primarily a training mission meant to equip 10 nations to combat insurgents in the region.[29] Africa Command states:

    OEF-TS is the USG's 3rd priority counter terror effort conducting activities that support TSCTP but are not exclusive to TSCTP. OEF-TS supports TSCTP by forming relationships of peace, security, and cooperation among all Trans Sahara Nations. OEF-TS fosters collaboration and communication among participating countries. Furthermore, OEF-TS strengthens counterterrorism and border security, promotes democratic governance, reinforces bilateral military ties, and enhances development and institution building. U.S. Africa Command, through OEF-TS, provides training, equipment, assistance and advice to partner nation armed forces. This increases their capacity and capability to deny safe haven to terrorists and ultimately defeat extremist and terrorist activities in the region.[29]

    At some point in 2013, OEF-TS was redesignated as Operation Juniper Shield.[30] Operation Juniper Shield encompasses American operations across Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia.[31]

    Training programs[edit]


    Nigerien soldiers train during Flintlock 2018 training exercises.

    Twice a year, the Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) program holds a multinational training exercise.[32] Called Flintlocks, these exercises are meant to strengthen special forces from the United States as well as multiple other nations.[32] Participants include troops from the Sahel and those from NATO members.[32] Flintlock started in 1988 and continued through Operation Enduring Freedom, and is now held in Africa.[32] The exercises teach medical operations, infantry and peacekeeping training, airborne operations, humanitarian relief, and leadership skills.[32] The amount each category is stressed depends on the host nation's needs.[32] In addition, participants are put through different scenarios involving skills instructed during the exercise.[33]

    Mali was supposed to host the 2012 exercise, but the United States decided to postpone the exercise.[34] Officials say Flintlock was postponed because Mali is facing a renewed Tuareg insurgency.[34]

    The Atlas Accord[edit]

    Although the Flintlock Exercise was postponed, another training program in Mali was not. The Atlas Accord was created in 2012 to train African military personnel in a number of skills while focusing on logistics.[3] The exercise includes classroom instruction and field instruction.[3] Atlas Accord 12 focused solely on logistics and aerial resupply, while the next exercise in 2013 will continue training in aerial logistics but will also include command, control, communications, and computer (C4) techniques.[3]

    African Lion exercise[edit]

    The largest training exercise, African Lion, is an annual security cooperation exercise held by the US and Morocco.[35] Created in 2008, this program is designed to instruct a variety of skills, including aerial logistics, non-lethal weapons training, combined arms and maneuver exercises.[35] More than 900 Moroccans and 1,200 Americans take part in the two-week exercise.[35]


    On 12 September 2007, a USAF C-130 was damaged from rifle fire by Tuareg forces while the aircraft was engaged in a supply drop to besieged Malian soldiers, no Americans were wounded in the incident.[36] The Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) established the Joint Special Operations Task Force–Trans Sahara (JSOTF-TS)[37] to help combat terrorism in the region. In 2012, the name of Operation Enduring Freedom - Trans Sahara transitioned to Operation Juniper Shield, although the operation was still referred to in US Government sources as OEF-TS as late as 2014.[38][39]

    ABC News reported that US forces arrived in Niger in early 2013 to support the French military intervention in Mali; 150 US personnel set up a surveillance drone operation over Mali that was conducted out of Niamey. As of 2017, there were about 800 US troops in Niger, the majority of whom are construction crews working to build up a second drone base in northern Niger. The remainder conduct a surveillance drone mission out of Niamey that helps out the French in Mali and other regional countries in the fight against the terrorists, and less than a hundred US Army Special Forces soldiers are also advising and assisting Niger's military to build up their fighting capability to counter the terrorists.[40] CNN reported that following the Tongo Tongo ambush in October 2017, which left 4 US soldiers killed, the government of Niger granted the US military the authority to arm its drones in Niger; the US military had been seeking the authority to arm its drones in Niger for months prior to the ambush.[41]

    ABC News also reported that there are 300 U.S. military personnel in Burkina Faso and Cameroon carrying out the same task as US forces in Niger,[40] The Guardian reported that the US military deployed 300 personnel to Cameroon in early October 2015, with the approval of the Cameroonian government, their primary mission was to provide intelligence support to local forces as well as conducting reconnaissance flights,[42] The personnel are also overseeing a program to transfer American military vehicles to the Cameroonian Army to aid in their fight against Islamist militants,[43] Army Times later reported that US soldiers in Cameroon are also providing IED awareness training to the country's infantry forces.[44] CNN reported that in May 2016 that US personnel conduct the drone operations from Garoua to help provide intelligence in the region to assist local forces.[45] In 2023, The 2023 Niger coup happens and leads to The Nigerien crisis.

    See also[edit]


    1. ^ a b c d e "Flintlock 11 Kicks off February 21 in Senegal". AFRICOM. 3 February 2011. Archived from the original on 24 December 2012.
    2. ^ a b c "Canada Sends Special Forces to Aid African Al-Qaida Fight". Montreal Gazette. 2 December 2011. Archived from the original on 6 January 2012.
    3. ^ a b c d e f "US, Mali Armies Kick off Exercise Atlas Accord; Postpone Exercise Flintlock". Defense Web. 13 February 2012. Archived from the original on 18 May 2013. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
    4. ^ "French Hostage Executed after raid on Al-Qaeda base". France 24 news. 26 July 2011. Archived from the original on 10 December 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
    5. ^ "Police in Spain arrest 5 suspected of financing terrorists". CNN. 27 September 2011. Archived from the original on 31 October 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
    6. ^ "US Starts Anti-Al-Qaeda Military Exercise in Sahara". BBC. 3 May 2010. Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
    7. ^ "Britain Signals Maghreb Push with Anti-Terror Help". Reuters Africa. 18 October 2011. Archived from the original on 12 October 2017. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
    8. ^ "The Danish effort in the Sahel region (MINUSMA and Operation Barkhane)". fmn.dk. Archived from the original on 26 September 2020. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
    9. ^ Maclean, Ruth; O’Reilly, Finbarr (29 March 2020). "Crisis in the Sahel Becoming France's Forever War". The New York Times – via NYTimes.com.
    10. ^ Forces, Swedish Armed. "Swedish Special Forces to Mali". Försvarsmakten. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
    11. ^ a b Comolli (2015), pp. 28, 103, 171.
    12. ^ "Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS) / Islamic State in the Sahara (ISS) / Islamic State in Burkina Faso & Mali (ISISBM)". Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium. Archived from the original on 26 October 2017. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
    13. ^ Lamothe, Dan (29 December 2014). "Meet Operation Freedom's Sentinel, the Pentagon's new mission in Afghanistan". Archived from the original on 20 October 2017. Retrieved 16 December 2017 – via www.WashingtonPost.com.
    14. ^ "Training in Trans-Sahara Africa". USASOC News Service. United States Army Special Operations Command. 9 December 2010. Archived from the original on 16 December 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2011.
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    16. ^ "Hosted news". Archived from the original on 11 November 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2016..
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    18. ^ "AQIM Leader Surrenders in Algeria". News24. 1 June 2011. Archived from the original on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
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    28. ^ "Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara (OEF-TS)". Global Security. Archived from the original on 15 February 2007. Retrieved 6 February 2007.
    29. ^ a b "Operation Enduring Freedom Trans Sahara". AFRICOM. Archived from the original on 13 March 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
    30. ^ "Joint Special Operations Task Force - Juniper Shield (JSOTF-JS)". Archived from the original on 5 October 2018. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
    31. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 October 2018. Retrieved 4 October 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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    33. ^ "Flintlock 10 Begins in Burkina Faso". AFRICOM. 4 May 2010. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012.
    34. ^ a b "US Postpones Counter-Terrorism Training Exercises in Mali as Army there Battles Tuareg Rebels". The Washington Post. 10 February 2012. Archived from the original on 11 February 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
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    36. ^ "Rifle fire strikes U.S. C-130 during airdrop over Mali - News - Stripes". Archived from the original on 5 October 2018. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
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    38. ^ "Crisis In Mali" (PDF). 3 March 2013. Archived from the original on 3 March 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
    39. ^ Pike, John. "Operation Enduring Freedom - Trans Sahara (OEF-TS) / Operation Juniper Shield". GlobalSecurity.org. Archived from the original on 22 December 2017. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
    40. ^ a b "Why US troops are in Niger". ABC News. 19 October 2017. Archived from the original on 25 October 2017. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
    41. ^ "US military is granted authority to arm its drones in Niger". CNN. 1 December 2017. Archived from the original on 8 December 2017. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
    42. ^ "Obama to deploy 300 US troops to Cameroon to fight Boko Haram". The Guardian. 14 October 2017. Archived from the original on 18 October 2017. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
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    External links[edit]