The United States recently traveled to the African nation of Chad to seek to improve their counterterrorism partnership with the country. Yet, despite the visitation by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who became the most senior official to set foot in Africa, Chad will still be restricted, at least for now, from traveling to the United States.
When President Donald Trump announced his recent installment of travel restrictions last September, the government of Chad, the State Department, and the Pentagon was perplexed as to why Chad had been lumped together with U.S. enemies such as North Korea, Syria, and Iran. However, technicalities like running out of passport papers so as to provide recent samples of its passport to U.S. Homeland Security officials and Chad’s inability to “adequately share public safety and terrorism-related information” with U.S. officials who screen prospective visitors entering the U.S. were the key reasons Chad made it to the list.
While Chad expressed their incomprehension and bitterness to the ban, Tillerson said that visa restrictions were put in place in the country “because of all the conflict that exists on Chad’s borders.” Furthermore, shortly after the travel ban was implemented, national security adviser H.R. McMaster pointedly said that Chad could be off the list “maybe in a couple of months.” Since then, the U.S. has continually praised Chad’s efforts and its compliance with U.S. requirements, and now Chad is waiting for the final report from the U.S., which is due in April so that both countries can begin the process to normalize the travel relationship.
Nevertheless, Tillerson said that the travel relationship with Chad shouldn’t keep them from collaborating with each other in combating growing threats posed by Boko Haram insurgency and the Islamic State group in the Sahel region in West Africa as they are spilling over to other parts of Africa and the world, such as Southeast Asia.
Because of instability and extremism in the region, the State Department announced a $60 million pledge to form a security force called “G5 Sahel” that strives to counter IS and other extremist groups, which Chad has been the driving force as they are known to have one of the strongest and effective militaries in Africa.
[via Associated Press]