The four Green Berets who lost their lives last month were fighting an ambush for hours by themselves. Those within or close to the Special Forces community have disclosed that the four Green Berets were left alone after the Nigerian forces that they were training fled within minutes of the firefighting starting — leaving the Green Berets to fight alone until the end.
According to The Guardian, the Special Forces soldiers asked for assistance from the neighboring country, Mali, numerous times during the firefight.
Those who are privy to what happened in Niger claimed that French warplanes, which were stationed in Mali, refused to assist because of poor weather, rough terrain and the issue of not being able to differentiate friend from enemy.
In the end, four Special Forces soldiers died in the attack along with five Niger soldiers. This has prompted many within the country and government to question if American soldiers should be abroad with congressional approval.
According to the New York Times, the Pentagon was shocked hearing of the deaths of the Green Berets as their mission was “routine.” The four Special Forces soldiers were conducting a training mission with an allied country’s military force.
The Times added that there were drones in the surrounding area but were unarmed at the time of the ambush. Also, since the mission was deemed “low risk,” there was no need to have the drone armed, according to one US official.
Senator John McCain argued that budget cuts were to blame for the deaths of the four soldiers, adding that there was an “intelligence failure.”
The same Guardian article, which acquired emails from within a community of Special Force soldiers, detailed a “massive blame game.”
“To them, it is obviously the [soldiers’ own] fault and error on a ‘routine’ training and advisory mission in Niger,” one soldier wrote.
One unnamed retired officer explained that the ambush was set in a kill box and once one half of the team got through, they would cut off the other half. “Except for those already dead or wounded, all of the Nigerien soldiers bugged out and left the Americans to fight … all by themselves. Two groups, roughly six Americans per group, fighting for their lives alone against a superior ALQ force,” he said.
As more detailed accounts of what happened in Niger are revealed, the more it seems that there could be some changes in the future as to how we go about “routine missions” in foreign countries.