U.S. Special Operations Forces Deploy to 138 Nations, 70% of the World’s Countries
By Nick Turse
They could be found on the outskirts of Sirte, Libya, supporting local militia fighters, and in Mukalla, Yemen, backing troops from the United Arab Emirates. At Saakow, a remote outpost in southern Somalia,
they assisted local commandos in killing several members of the terror
group al-Shabab. Around the cities of Jarabulus and Al-Rai in northern Syria,
they partnered with both Turkish soldiers and Syrian militias, while
also embedding with Kurdish YPG fighters and the Syrian Democratic
Forces. Across the border in Iraq, still others joined the fight to liberate the city of Mosul. And in Afghanistan, they assisted indigenous forces in various missions, just as they have every year since 2001.
For America, 2016 may have been the year of the commando.
In one conflict zone after another across the northern tier of Africa
and the Greater Middle East, U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) waged
their particular brand of low-profile warfare. “Winning the current
fight, including against the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and other areas
where SOF is engaged in conflict and instability, is an immediate
challenge,” the chief of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), General Raymond Thomas, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last year.
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