Source: Africa Review
As the US military pulls out of restive Iraq, it is turning its attention to a new direction of engagement, though on a much smaller scale.
This time it is Liberia, and the mission, unlike in Iraq, is to train a military that has gone through over a decade of brutal civil.
A detachment of US soldiers from the Michigan Army National Guard is heading for the West African country on a 1-year mission to « train Liberian forces on how to be an army, » according to Michigan National Guard Colonel Pablo Estrada, who heads the unit.
« It’s exciting to be in this position where we get a chance to train an army. It’s not a cakewalk and we know it’s not a cakewalk, » the delegation commander said at the deployment ceremony on Thursday.
The soldiers, who also include some who had served in Iraq, are said to be volunteering “to help Liberia” which is recovering from 14 years of civil war.
“The training will cover everything from basic infantry tactics to drill and ceremony,” said Col. Estrada.
Liberia is still considered by the international community as a fragile state, and this situation was somehow demonstrated in the country’s just concluded but disputed presidential elections.
The UN Security Council in September voted to extend its peacekeeping mission in the country for one more year.