The government has decided to make a Swedish armed unit ready for disposal by 31 December 2021, following a request by Mali for a contribution to the multinational special forces Task Force Takuba in Mali. The Swedish task force will also be able to operate on Niger territory, following a request by Niger. Sweden’s participation, together with other nations, is part of the long-term commitment to promote security in Mali, in order to obtain a sustainable and peaceful development in the country.
Mali is one of the world’s poorest countries and over the past few years, there has been an increase of criminal activities, such as illegal trade with weapons, drugs and people. Kidnappings and terrorist attacks have also soared. The country has become a hotspot for violence-inciting Islamist groups, such as groups connected to Daesh and al-Qaida. Mali is also marred by internal conflicts between different ethnic communities.
Special forces are well equipped and trained, and can be rapidly deployed to various parts of the operational area, to prevent local conflicts from escalating and terrorism to spread.
The Swedish troop contribution to Task Force Takuba is a helicopter-borne rapid-response force ready to be deployed if something unforeseen occurs. The task force will also be used for other operations, as for example to support other countries that exercise and conduct operations with the Malian army. The Swedish troop contribution to Task Force Takuba will use Black Hawk helicopters (Helikopter 16) during the operation, as well as C-130 transport aircraft (Hercules). The Swedish 150-strong unit can be increased by another 100 troops if necessary. The task force comprises of special forces’ operators, personnel from the special forces support units as well as personnel from conventional units. Task Force Takuba is led by France and is one of France’s largest operations abroad, Operation Barkhane.
The Swedish troop contributions to the three operations in Mali (Minusma, EUTM Mali and Task Force Takuba) have some joint national support, such as logistics, but other than that the operations are ruled by different mandates and operate separated from each other. In an emergency situation and an armed attack, however, Task Force Takuba can provide support to other operations.