US Military Plane Carrying French Troops Arrives in Mali

FILE - In this Jan. 15, 2013 file photo, French troops in two armored personnel carriers drive through Mali's capital Bamako on the road to Mopti. The Obama administration has declared it cannot accept new terrorist sanctuaries in Mali or anywhere else and has promised to support French and African efforts to restore security. Yet after almost a year of disorder in the West African nation, Washington is still keeping the conflict at arm�s length. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)
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The United States started transporting French soldiers and equipment to Mali on Tuesday (January 22) as part of its logistical aid to French forces fighting Islamist militants in the north of the country.

Paris launched a military campaign against Islamist fighters in Mali at the request of the Malian government, amid fears the vast desert country could become a launch pad for international attacks.

A spokesman from the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) said the force started air lifting French army personnel and equipment to Bamako from the Istres air base in southern France.

The U.S. has not given details on how many of its planes are involved, but has said the operation is expected to extend over a couple of days.

French Armed Forces spokesman Thierry Burkhard said on Monday (January 21) that Britain, Belgium, Canada and Denmark were already transporting French material.

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