Czech Army to be deployed in the Operation Barkhane in Mali (2020-2022)

Czech Army to be deployed in the Operation Barkhane in Mali (2020-2022)
30 / 01 / 2020, 10:00

The Government of the Czech Republic approved a proposal for the Czech Armed Forces to be deployed in the fight against terrorism in Mali, Niger and Chad. “The proposal will now be submitted to the Parliament of the Czech Republic. If it is approved, we will have a mandate to engage in Operation Barkhane with a maximum of 60 persons with effect until 31st December 2022,” Defence Minister Lubomír Metnar described the following steps.

The main aim of the expansion of Operation Barkhane is to create a task force of European countries called TAKUBA, which will replace the French forces in the region and will continue to assist and advise partner Malian troops and accompany them in combat operations. France launched this operation in August 2014 and last year European countries were invited to join the mission. France’s priority now is to move efforts to other parts of Mali to eliminate the armed activities of terrorist and anti-government forces in the new operational area.

“The forward team should start operations in the middle of this year. The main part of the operation lasting 12 months is planned provisionally from August or September 2020,” General Aleš Opata, Chief of the General Staff of the Army of the Czech Republic, said.

See also: Czech Foreign Deployments – Reinforcements announced (2018-2019)

Geographically, the main operational area of ​​our troops would be Mali. Operation in the territory of Niger would only take place in connection with logistical transports and cross-border operations in the event of possible persecution of terrorist groups. In Chad, there is the headquarters of Operation Barkhane, where a number of Czech officers would serve too.

"By sending forces to Mali, Niger and Chad, the Czech Republic confirms the position of a country intending to fight all forms of terrorism, thus fulfilling one of the points of the Government's Policy Statement," Minister Metnar concluded.

The whole operation will be carried out on the basis of the official consent of the states concerned, guaranteeing the legal status of the soldiers sent and after approval by both chambers of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. The cost of the entire mission is estimated at a minimum of CZK 598 million. Funds will be drawn from the budget of the Ministry of Defence.

The Army of the Czech Republic is already operating in Mali within the European Union Training Mission. Tasks of Czech soldiers include protection of EUTM Headquarters in Bamako and training of Malian soldiers in cooperation with other nations contributing to the mission. The first Czech rotation in this non-combat mission began its duty in April 2013, and even though the mission was planned for 15 months only, its mandate has been prolonged several times.

See also: Current Foreign Deployments of the Czech Army

The second task force of the Army of the Czech Republic also includes a pair of Czech instructors. They joined immediately after their arrival at the end of 2019 in the EUTM training unit. And in the first two months they managed to run two courses together with colleagues from other EU countries. The longer one concerned mechanized infantry, the shorter one was organized for the local police forces.

The CASSPIR course of several weeks was named after the armoured vehicle used by the Malian army. It was attended by soldiers who have already undergone combat with local terrorists. It was therefore an improvement training, both in the use of small arms and tactics. After having completed the course, the Malians were again to be deployed in the troubled parts of the country, where they practically capitalize on newly acquired skills.

Casspir APC

Warrant Officer (OR-7) K. H. summed up his experience in training Malian: “There are considerable differences in experience among soldiers, so we had to start from scratch. First, proper use of small arms, then individual shooting, then the tactics of the unit and finally the live combat fires with Casspir vehicles. Progress was noticeable for everyone,” he said.


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