Currently about 4,500 French troops are engaged in counter-insurgency operations in the Sahel where France has spearheaded efforts to create a joint-military force bringing together soldiers from five Sahel countries (Senegal, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania).
“We are looking at rotary support or Istar [Intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, reconnaissance],” a Whitehall source told the Times. “The effort is meant to counter terrorism, to counter organized crime and to help re-establish state authority.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron are expected to announce the agreement at a Franco-British summit next week in London.
Hundreds of millions have been pledged to assist the French-led Barkhane operations in the Sahel countries. Major contributions so far have come from Saudi Arabia, the EU, the G5 members, the US, and the United Arab Emirates.