Denmark will strengthen the Takuba European Special Forces

COPENHAGEN, (BM) – In January 2013, the European countries which provided support for the French operation Serval launched to drive out jihadist groups from the towns they occupied in northern Mali and prevent them from advancing towards Bamako could be counted on their fingers a hand. The United Kingdom committed resources, notably in transport and intelligence, as did Belgium [with two A109 helicopters for medical evacuations] and Denmark [with a C-130 Hercules].

“We cannot say that France is all alone [but] there are absences which are a little regrettable, that is to say, that we can see in Europe a somewhat minimal mobilization”, then commented Alain Vidalies, Minister of Relations with Parliament at the time.

If subsequently, several European countries ended up committing to Mali by contributing, sometimes significantly, to the EUTM Mali mission and MINUSMA [United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission], it was not for as much question of sending their troops in combat, alongside the French forces.

However, Estonia took this step by engaging an infantry detachment in Gao, under French command. The UK then decided to step up its support for Operation Barkhane by providing three valuable heavy lift [HTL] CH-47 Chinook helicopters. Then, in 2019, Denmark did the same, with two EH-101 Merlin, for one year.

Since then, other European countries have decided to join Operation Barkhane via the group of special forces “Takuba”, whose mission is to accompany the light reconnaissance and intervention units of the Malian armed forces in combat [FAMa ]. This is the case of the Czech Republic, Sweden, and Italy [Estonia has been involved since the launch of this French initiative, note]. Others are thinking about it, such as Greece, Portugal, and Hungary.

In any event, this grouping of special forces expects to be reinforced in early 2022 with Danish commandos’ arrival. On April 8, Denmark announced its intention to engage around 100 members of its special forces in Takuba, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing opex360.

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“The threat posed by ISIS and al-Qaeda organizations remains significant. They want to create an oasis in West Africa to impose their extremist regime there. It would be a serious security threat. It doesn’t have to happen. This is why Denmark is now stepping up its efforts with special operations forces and transport planes, just as it continues its diplomatic efforts and targeted humanitarian actions,” said Jeppe Kofod, the Danish minister. Foreign Affairs.

“We are working closely with our European allies and our local partners to fight terrorist groups and strengthen stability in the region” and “prevent them from making the Sahel a refuge for their regime of terror and violence”, insisted the head of Danish diplomacy.

In its press release, the Danish government recalls that Denmark has supported “international military efforts in Mali and the Sahel region at large” since 2012, notably with transport planes, helicopters, and contributions to MINUSMA.

This commitment within Takuba is not yet specific, however. He will indeed have to resolve which Denmark will submit for the approval of the “Folketing” [Parliament].

As a reminder, the Takuba group reached its barely operational capacity last week. “This step is major from a tactical and operational point of view; it is also a strong symbol: European soldiers are fighting together in the Sahel against armed terrorist groups,” the Ministry of the Armed Forces said at the time.

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