Operation Barkhane

Islamic extremists linked to al-Qaeda took control of the desert north of Mali in early 2012, exploiting a Tuareg separatist uprising.

France began a military intervention the next year that evolved into the current Operation Barkhane deployment with a mandate for counter-terror operations across the Sahel region, encompassing Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

Around 4,500 French personnel are deployed, and they work alongside the G5 Sahel joint counter-terrorism force that aims to train 5,000 troops, as well as peacekeepers deployed to the United Nations Minusma stabilization mission in Mali.