America's involvement in the French operation against Islamist factions in Mali appeared to be deepening, as the Obama administration requested additional supportive funds from congress.
The Associated Press reported
on Friday that the White House requested $32 million to train African soldiers in the fight against the Islamists, many of whom are believed to be affiliated with Al Qaeda.
The fighting in Mali seemed to be favoring the French. On Saturday, Fox News reported
that French troops had secured the airport and a strategic bridge seen as crucial to the Islamist militants.
However, as has happened in Afghanistan and Iraq, the disappearance of the Islamists does not portend their immediate collapse.
The American involvement in the Mali conflict has largely been seen as logistical, providing transportation and other aid to the French and supporting African troops. The additional $32 million would represent a notable increase in investment.
Mali's disruptive militants appear to have received weapons from Libya in the chaotic period following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. In comparison, the military operation in Libya cost the U.S. alone more than $1 billion, according to a summary report from National Journal
in October, 2011.
It was unclear if congress would approve the White House request.