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Sunday, 3 November, 2002, 04:43 GMT
US plans anti-terror HQ in Horn
Stealth bomber on training run
The new HQ could free up capacity for Iraq

US defence officials have confirmed that they are planning to establish a military headquarters in the Horn of Africa to help in the hunt for suspected terrorists.

It could also free up other military commanders to concentrate on planning for possible military action against Iraq.

The Horn of Africa has become a main focus of the Americans global war on terrorism and their hunt for suspected al-Qaeda members and their sympathisers.

Several hundred US army and special forces troops are already stationed in Djibouti.

Regional command

The new so-called joint headquarters would help co-ordinate their efforts and US co-operation with local states.

USS Princeton and helicopter
The base would start off at sea
Pentagon officials say the headquarters is likely to be based first aboard a naval command ship, but then could move ashore.

It could also free up other commanders in US central command, which has overall responsibility for the region, to spend more time on planning and preparation for a possible military showdown with Iraq.

The Americans could eventually have three regional headquarters in the area, each with its own responsibilities.

As well as the new command centre in the Horn of Africa, there is one at Bagram air base in Afghanistan, and there could be a third in the Gulf.

A major command post exercise begins in Qatar in the next few weeks, and the Pentagon has left open the possibility that equipment and military staff could stay on there after the exercise is over.


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29 Jun 02 | Country profiles
21 Dec 01 | Africa
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