Correspondent Laura Lynch in Mali describes the time she's just spent with a French army convoy on the road to Gao, Mali. Islamists extremists have been pushed out of Gao, but there are still dangers on the road.
As the militants melt away from cities and towns in northern Mali, there have been scenes of jubilation. People who have experienced life under the rule of Islamist fighters say it has been a harsh, violent existence.
Washington is keeping the conflict in Mali at arm's length. American officials say they are providing intelligence to France and are considering deploying American aircraft to land in Mali. But there are no plans to send American troops.