The Pentagon has sent Special Forces teams in Mozambique to train the country’s security forces against an insurgent terrorist threat.
The Green Berets from the 3rd Special Forces Group have deployed in the African country to train the country’s special operations forces in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency. Their Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) is expected to last two months.
Located in the north of Mozambique, the Cabo Delgado province has been plagued by Islamist terrorists affiliated with the Islamic State. Close to 700,000 people have been displaced because of their wanton violence. Their brutal practices include torture, rape, and the killing of those who oppose them; according to the aid group “Save the Children,” beheadings of people, including small children, are common. More than 2,000 people have died thus far.
Once in country, the Special Forces Operational Detachment Alphas (ODAs) will conduct Foreign Internal Defense (FID), or the training of partner forces.
In a press statement, the US Embassy in Mozambique stated that “The United States prioritizes the respect for human rights, protection of civilians, and engagement with civil society in all security assistance. The United States is committed to supporting Mozambique with a multifaceted and holistic approach to counter and prevent the spread of terrorism and violent extremism. This approach addresses socioeconomic development issues as well as the security situation. Civilian protection, human rights, and community engagement are central to U.S. cooperation and are foundational to effectively counter the Islamic State in Mozambique.”
In addition to the Special Forces operators, the US military has sent medical and communications aid to its Mozambican counterpart.
Aside from Foreign Internal Defense, Special Forces operators primarily specialize in Unconventional Warfare, Direct Action, Special Reconnaissance, Counterterrorism, and Counterinsurgency. These warrior-diplomats work by, with, and through partner forces to maximize their effectiveness.
For example, during the initial invasion of Afghanistan following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, 12-man Special Forces detachments went in and connected with local anti-Taliban groups in the North and South of the country. The American commandos then embedded and worked with the local Afghans to drive back and eventually defeat the numerically superior Taliban and al-Qaida forces. All in all, there were probably less than a couple of hundred Americans in the country. But their ability to build rapport with, gain the confidence of, and work with the partner forces swelled their effectiveness.
As with all special operations units, Green Berets have a disproportionate for their size effect on the battlefield.