WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States has run 30 flights in support of France’s efforts in Mali, a US defense spokesman said late Monday.
“As of Sunday (February 3), US Air Force C-17s had completed 30 flights transporting approximately 610 personnel and 760 tons of equipment and supplies. This effort began on January 21,” said spokesman Major Rob Firman.
“Since aerial refueling began January 27, the US Air Force has flown nine missions and offloaded 360,000 pounds of fuel to French aircraft,” he added.
The details were released after US Vice President Joe Biden hailed France’s “decisive” intervention in Mali on Monday and joined President Francois Hollande in calling for UN peacekeepers to be quickly deployed to the country.
Biden also praised France’s “decisiveness” in intervening in Mali and the “competence and capability” of French military forces, whose lightning advance since January 11 drove Islamist militants from key cities in northern Mali they had seized last year.