US Planning To Train Libyan Security Forces in Bulgaria


Credit: Magharebia/wikimedia

According to Reuters, the U.S. is planning to train Libyan security forces. The news comes as the Libyan government continues to struggle with Islamists and militias that are impeding attempts to restore some sort of order in the wake of Gaddafi's removal from power in 2011.

The instability in Libya has been highlighted by recent kidnappings and violent clashes involving militias.

Last month, the prime minister was kidnapped and later released, and yesterday Libya's deputy director of intelligence was kidnapped at Tripoli Airport.

Although many of the militias fought together to remove Gaddafi from power, the BBC notes that many remain in control of the towns where they formed. Recently, Militia groups from Misrata were ordered to leave Tripoli following violent clashes with protesters.

According to Army Col. Steve Warren,  Libyan security forces will be trained in Bulgaria. Admiral William McRaven has said that this training will come with risks.

From Reuters:

"Right now as we go forward to try and find a good way to build up the Libyan security forces so they are not run by militias, we are going to have to assume some risks," McRaven told the forum late on Saturday.

"There is probably some risk that some of the people we will be training with do not have the most clean records. But at the end of the day it is the best solution we can find to train them to deal with their own problems."

It is understandable that McRaven is wary of the risks involved in training Libyan security forces. Coalition personnel have been killed in so-called insider attacks in Afghanistan. Sixty-four coalition troops were killed in such attacks last year in Afghanistan, and according to reporting from the AP at the end of last month "insider attacks by Afghan troops, or insurgents in their uniforms, have left 15 foreign soldiers dead this year."

Although plans still need to be finalized, it looks like Libyan security forces could be receiving training from Americans for some time. According to Reuters, Bulgaria's defense minister said in September that the U.S. plans to train Libyan forces in Bulgaria for up to eight years.