US did poor job training Mali troops, military commander admits


Malian troops patrol the vast desert area near Mauritania in which Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has conducted deadly operations.



A US military official admitted Thursday that the Pentagon made some major mistakes in its training of Mali troops.

General Carter Ham, the commander of the US Africa Command, gave his critical review in a talk to students at Howard University. "We have had a US training effort with the Malian armed forces for some number of years,” he said during the forum, the Department of Defense announced in a press release

He feels that the US gave Mali troops good physical training, but not good ethics training, BBC News reported. "We were focusing our training almost exclusively on tactical or technical matters," Ham said, adding later: “We didn’t spend, probably, the requisite time focusing on values, ethics and military ethos.”

More from GlobalPost: Mali abuse allegations threaten French campaign

The Mali troops are trying to oust Islamist militants and other rebel groups that have been overrunning the country--killing people and causing massive destruction-- since March. But instead of protecting locals from the rebels, the Mali troops are wreaking more havoc and terror, a human rights group says.

As GlobalPost reported, as many as 33 people have been summarily executed by Malian soldiers, according to the International Federation for Human Rights.