Quotes from the news wire:
We are not walking away from our African partners. In fact, because their capability has improved to the level it has, they're capable of conducting lots of these tactical operations on their own, we're going to help them to degrade the enemies that we share in common. They are fighting America's enemies. These are sworn enemies of the United States, United States's why we're here. We can fight them here or we can fight them somewhere else at a much higher cost.
What concerns me most specifically is al Qaeda, because I believe that al Qaeda-associated threats here, so al Shabaab and JNIM and the other offshoots of formerly known as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, are taking direction from al Qaeda core and are sort of walking through the al Qaeda playbook to develop clandestine infrastructure, and I think they have a disciplined, patient approach to building a base that will allow them to form a caliphate when the time is right.
My intent there was to remind -- a lot of West Africa is coming out of Afghanistan, and to remind them that we are not in Afghanistan. We have multiple sovereign nations here, and this is going to be a long, deliberate effort to develop their capability, and that our focus is really on working by, with and through our African and western partners.
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