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AFRICOM commander visit to Tanzania highlights security cooperation
July 28, 2021

U.S. Army General Stephen Townsend, Commander, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), conducted a two-day visit to Tanzania, July 27-28, where he met with senior defense officials and opened the first joint special forces training exercise between the two nations since 2017.

“Tanzania remains an African security leader and a partner of U.S. Africa Command. Our defense forces have a long history of working side by side. This visit is a symbol of our desire to strengthen that partnership,” Townsend said.

On July 28 Townsend joined with General Venance Mabeyo, Chief of Defence Forces, for the opening ceremony of a Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) between a U.S. Special Forces Detachment and members of Tanzania’s Marine Special Forces at the Peacekeeping Operations Training Center in Kunduchi. The six-week exercise is the first of its type between the U.S. and Tanzania since 2017. The U.S. and Tanzanian forces will train side by side to strengthen skills such as small unit tactics, marksmanship, medical treatment, unit maneuver, the Law of Armed Conflict, and the preservation of human rights in combat.

“U.S. Africa Command is committed to working with the Tanzanian military on regional challenges. We are strengthening our military ties through joint operational training and exercises,” Townsend said. “It’s important we develop our partnership with Tanzania to advance our shared goals and security objectives.”

Townsend’s visit also included a stop at the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) headquarters in Upanga, where he was welcomed by an honor guard and met with senior leaders. In addition, Townsend visited the U.S. Embassy where he met with U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania Donald Wright and other Embassy personnel.

According to Ambassador Wright, the training exercise and Townsend’s visit are evidence of the importance that the U.S. places on its strong security cooperation with Tanzania.

“General Townsend’s visit reaffirms the broad and longstanding security partnership between the United States and Tanzania. As we celebrate 60 years of bilateral relations between the U.S. and Tanzania, this visit underscores the importance of security cooperation to that relationship based on mutual respect and shared values.”