Canadian special forces already in Mali

Canadian special forces soldiers are already deployed in Mali protecting Canadian diplomats, CBC News reports, but according to the government they are not on a “combat” mission (“Canadian special forces on ground in Mali, sources say,” CBC News, 28 January 2013):

Canadian special forces are on the ground inside the troubled West African country of Mali to protect Canadian assets there, CBC News has learned.

The special forces are not there to train Malian troops — and they are not involved in any combat role, as the government has repeatedly stressed and Prime Minister Stephen Harper repeated again Monday in the House of Commons.

The Department of National Defence would not confirm or deny the special forces are in Mali due to issues of security of personnel.

But a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs told CBC News, “Steps have been taken to ensure our mission and Canadian personnel are protected.”

Evan Solomon, host of CBC News Network’s Power & Politics, reports the special forces on the ground are protecting Canadian assets such as the Canadian Embassy in the capital Bamako, according to sources.

On January 25th, noted the presence of Canadian special forces in the region and asked whether they might soon be operating in Mali. As Monday’s news reports indicate, it now appears that they are already there, although for the time being at least they are not in “combat”.

Mission creep.

Further coverage:

Photo credit: DND

Tags: Canada and military intervention, Canadian defence policy, Canadian Special Operations Regiment, Joint Task Force-2, JTF-2, Mali