Speed Reads

Niger Ambush

The U.S. Special Forces mission in Niger that left 4 U.S. troops dead reportedly lacked proper approval

The U.S. military has wrapped up its investigation into the Oct. 4 raid in Niger that ended with four U.S. service members and four Nigerien troops dead after an ambush by Islamic State-linked fighters. The investigation found that the Army Special Forces team did not have the required approval for the mission from senior commanders in Chad or Germany, meaning U.S. commanders could not accurately assess its risk, several U.S. officials tell The Associated Press. The report will not identify a single point of failure in the mission, and it doesn't blame the mission's failure on the lack of authorization, the officials say.

Initially, the mission was reported to have shifted from a meeting with local Nigerien leaders to providing assistance to a raid searching for militant Doundou Chefou, but officials now say the Special Forces team was targeting Chefou from the start. The U.S. and Nigerien forces were ambushed by ISIS fighters after they stopped in Tongo Tongo for water and supplies, and the report said there is no compelling evidence that anyone in the village tipped off the ISIS fighters to the Americans' presence in the area. The head of U.S. Africa Command, Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, is expected to recommend greater oversight of missions in Africa. He testifies before a House committee on Tuesday.