Last month, President Trump made the decision to randomly add the African nation of Chad to his travel ban list. Days later, four U.S, soldiers were killed in an ambush in Niger. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow says Trump’s actions may have destabilized the region and the lack of allied troops could have then been the cause of the deaths of the four green berets.
Maddow explained the extensive history of the groups of African and French fighters who have managed to battle Islamic extremists like ISIS and Boko Haram in central Africa and actually win, expelling the majority of the terrorist groups out of the region.” However, somehow Chad ended up on Trump’s travel ban list.
When it did, there was an uproar of foreign policy experts who warned this was a terrible decision because it would destabilize the region and isolate American troops fighting there. Both the State and Defense Departments were also opposed to Trump’s decision to put Chad on the list, because they knew it would cause military problems in the area. But the Trump administration demanded it.
“Several terrorist groups are active in Chad,” Maddow cited the administration’s reasoning. “If that’s the reason you end up on the travel ban list, why wouldn’t you put Mali or Niger or even Iraq and Afghanistan?”
A former State Department official who worked on that region went even further, telling the New York Times that putting Chad on that list could truly put Americans in harm’s way.
According to Reuters, Chad then began to withdraw their troops from the fight against Boko Haram in Niger. In fact, Chad’s troops were gone a week after Trump added Chad to the ban list.
Once the soldiers left, Boko Haram moved back in and people began to flee for their lives again. Shortly after the “battle-hardened” Chad fighters left, four American soldiers were attacked and killed in an ambush by ISIS extremists in Niger.
Chad announced it began pulling its troops out two weeks ago on Oct. 13, which Maddow said would put their timeline for withdrawal at the end of September.
“Those Chadian troops were really doing something in Niger. They were protecting those villages in that whole region from ISIS militant groups being able to operate freely and be able to take more territory from there once again. And pulling those troops out had an immediate effect in emboldening those ISIS attacks.”
Within days of the Chadian soldiers beginning to pull out from protecting those villages from ISIS, four soldiers were ambushed.
“So, no wonder the president doesn’t want to talk about it,” Maddow said.
This week, Americans learned the official excuse for why the Trump administration decided to pull out of Chad. It was because the country didn’t send a sample passport that proved it couldn’t be faked. According to The Guardian, Chad had to stop issuing passports for six months because the country ran out of the forgery-proof passport paper. They asked the Trump administration if they could send a recently printed passport but the Trump administration said no and put them on the ban list, ignoring the closest military ally in the region.
The incident has prompted several lawmakers to publicly demand answers from the administration. Sen. John McCain on Wednesday directly accused the president of not being forthcoming about the attack in Niger that left four US soldiers dead and two wounded.
Watch Maddow’s report in the video below: