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Belgians in Takuba in the second half of 2022. Maybe

(B2) Belgium has included in its 2022 operation plan a possible deployment as part of the French initiative task force in Mali. Everything is not completely settled yet

The slide of the 2022 operations plan shown to deputies (flow: chamber – photo: B2)

From some staff officers

Belgium would no longer be content with sending a few liaison officers to the HQ of the Takuba task force – there are currently three, which will be extended – but would move on to a more active deployment. The Belgian Ministry of Defense is therefore considering the deployment of a joint tactical subgroup (CATSG in the Belgian name or Combined Arms Tactical Sub-Group), in the second half of 2.

Gradual deployment depending on the situation

This force would be deployed gradually, evolving according to different parameters, notably political and security developments on site », Specifies Commander Kristof Van Belleghem, before the deputies of the Defense committee of the Belgian parliament, Wednesday (November 17). Hearing attended by B2. The workforce would be between 165 personnel (in mid-2022) and 255 personnel (end of 2022, when full deployment capacity would be reached).

Force protection and accompaniment of special forces

Missions assigned to this force: firstly, the protection of the deployment base and logistical convoys; secondly, second-line support for special forces and their Malian partners, thirdly, a (possible) contribution to the training of Malian intervention forces from the Belgian base. The Belgian detachment would (of course) include armored vehicles.

An assessment still needed

Important clarification: the analysis of this deployment is still “ projects "by the Defense and must be presented" for debate » to parliamentarians soon, warns the director of operations in the minister's office. It is the question of medical and logistical support which apparently needs to be carefully studied. In addition to national support, synergies are currently being sought with partners » specifies Van Belleghem. The possible insertion of medical specialists in the French Role 2 hospital in Gao is thus envisaged.

A politically risky commitment

These clarifications are not purely formal. Previous projects have run into political and technical difficulties. First of all, the lack of support in the majority for such a deployment was obvious until then (read: A Belgian company in Operation Barkhane. A political agreement still needed). There were also questions of availability (read: Why are Belgium and the Netherlands entering Takuba so timidly?) (1). Which forced Minister Dedonder to throw down the gauntlet last year, not without turmoil (read: The Belgians will not go to Barkhane in 2021. And for 2022 we will see!). Minister Dedonder is going there, this time, with measured steps, trying to show parliamentarians that the Belgians are not alone in this operation. " A dozen countries participate ».

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

  1. The Belgian military medical component has been drastically reduced in recent years to the point that for certain operations, Belgian soldiers are forced to resort to the private sector, or even to " to hitchhike » to their allies in the event of evacuation.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).