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Recently leaked Pentagon documents have revealed that U.S. intelligence and special forces have been conducting a shadow war in the Middle East and North Africa in an attempt to disrupt the Russian mercenary group, Wagner.
While the Biden administration has shown concern over Wagner fighters leading efforts in Ukraine to take the city of Bakhmut, the administration has also long had concerns regarding the expansion of Wagner's presence in Africa.
The leaked Pentagon materials confirm that Washington's proxy war against Wagner has been in play for years, well before Russia invaded Ukraine, and that it includes the U.S. military engaging in secret operations that target Wagner mercenaries, according to Zerohedge.
Among the trove of leaked classified documents is one that lists almost a dozen options, including "kinetic" ones that could be executed as part of "coordinated U.S. and allied disruption efforts." The materials also cite sharing targeting information with Kyiv to help Ukrainian forces kill Wagner commanders. The files take note of the willingness of other allies to use lethal force against Wagner operators in Africa as well.
Despite the U.S. military's interventions to disrupt Wagner's operations, the efforts have had little effect on the mercenaries' presence.
There is little in the leaked files to indicate that the U.S. has been able to slow the advancement or operations of Wagner in recent years. Over 6 years, Wagner, which is controlled by Russian oligarch and Putin confidant, Yevgeny Prigozhin has gained strategic footholds in no less than at least 8 African countries of the 13 nations that Wagner has had some form of operations.
The documents refer to one direct military strike as "a successful unattributed attack in Libya," that "destroyed a Wagner logistics aircraft." There is no mention in the file as to why a specific aircraft was targeted and no further details of the operation were given.
It is unclear who carried out the attack in Libya - whether it was special operations or CIA or a proxy force such as Libyan militias that have been trained by U.S. forces.
Russian state media has also picked up on the leaked information with RT writing that story based on the leaks "cites a document alleging that Ukraine's military intelligence service, the GUR, and its head, Kirill Budanov, planned an attack on Wagner officers in Mali." The Russian media has taken the document to indicate that the U.S. has launched a deliberate campaign to hunt and execute Wagner commanders.
Meanwhile, Washington sees Wagner's expansion in Africa as part of a larger scheme to expand Russian influence in the region. Since 2015, Wagner has been active in Syria after President Assad invited Russian allied forces to join the conflict. More recently, the U.S. has accused Russia and Wagner of igniting the fighting in Sudan that started last week between rebel generals.
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