BREAKING. US Troops Ambushed On Niger-Mali Border and There May or May Not be US KIA

FILE - In this Monday, May 10, 2010 file photo, Malian special forces drill to face off an ambush as an unidentified U.S. Special Forces soldier gives instructions from a Malian truck in Kita, Mali, during a joint training exercise. A new Tuareg rebel group, whose members include former pro-Gadhafi fighters, say Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012, that they have launched a second day of attacks in northern Mali towns. Col. Idrissa Traore, spokesman for Mali's Armed Forces, confirmed fighting in the two northern towns, but did not provide details.(AP Photo/Alfred de Montesquiou, File)

FILE - In this Monday, May 10, 2010 file photo, Malian special forces drill to face off an ambush as an unidentified  U.S. Special Forces soldier gives instructions from a Malian truck in Kita, Mali, during a joint training exercise. A new Tuareg rebel group, whose members include former pro-Gadhafi fighters, say Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012, that they have launched a second day of attacks in northern Mali towns. Col. Idrissa Traore, spokesman for Mali's Armed Forces, confirmed fighting in the two northern towns, but did not provide details.(AP Photo/Alfred de Montesquiou, File)

This is coming in in fragments.

Background. We have a small number of US soldiers stationed in Niger to assist in combating Islamist forces in neighboring Mali. Training the Niger military in small unit tactics is one of the missions they undertake.

According to the New York Times the casualty count is three US dead and two US wounded:

Three United States Army Special Forces were killed and two were wounded in an ambush in Niger on Wednesday while on a routine patrol with troops they were training from the West African nation, American military officials said.

“We can confirm reports that a joint U.S. and Nigerien patrol came under hostile fire in southwest Niger,” Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Falvo, a spokesman for the United States Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany, said in an email on Wednesday.

A United States military official said that the three Army Green Berets were killed in the attack. It took place 120 miles north of Niamey, the capital of Niger, near the border of Mali, where militants with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, an affiliate of Al Qaeda, have conducted cross-border raids.

Two other Green Berets were wounded, another American military official said. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the casualties publicly.

Right now, the NYT is the only source for this, but if true, it would be pretty significant. That is half of an ODA put out of action in one fire fight. If true, it really asks a lot of tough questions about a lot of things, from intelligence, to operational security, to situational awareness. Sometimes the bad guys get lucky but losing half of an ODA in a fight is probably unprecedented since the Vietnam War.

UPDATES

This looks derivative from the New York Times article and probably doesn’t move this story forward.

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