Crash Offers Look At US Army in Mali

Ten weeks after three U.S. Army commandos died in a Mali car accident, officials have yet to explain what they were doing in the country.

The April 20 incident in which the Special Operations soldiers, and three women identified as Moroccan prostitutes, were killed when their vehicle skidded off a bridge and fell into the Niger River, came a month after the United States officially suspended military relations with the Mali government, The Washington Post reported Monday.

The Obama administration has not publicly acknowledged the existence of any mission in Mali, but the accident exposed a Special Operations team at work for months in the Saharan country wracked by civil war and with a rising Islamist insurgency, the newspaper said. It pointed out that Special Operations forces typically work openly in African countries, distributing humanitarian aid and training local militaries, but that such assignments can provide cover for counter-terrorism units.

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