As French troops continue the fight in Mali against al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the United States remains committed to not becoming directly involved, but some foreign policy experts say that it may become increasingly difficult to stay that way, USA Today reports.
Obama administration officials recently said that while the extremist group, which is al-Qaeda's North African franchise, pose a threat to American interests, they believe that sending American troops is not the right move. Instead, the military will lend support through financial aid and intelligence gathering. Some advisors say the approach is enough for the time being, but the policy may need to change.
"At some point the U.S. may have to ratchet up the instruments it deploys – including possibly targeting key AQIM leaders in order to throw the extremists into disarray – in order to buy time for [political work", J. Peter Pham, director of the Africa program at the Atlantic Council, told the publication.
French-led forces have made considerable progress over the last several weeks. Joined by Malian troops, they have retaken many of the country's major cities including Gao, which was recently lost to insurgents, reports The Guardian.