Chad’s Counterterrorism Efforts: Progress, Limitations, and Partnerships

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Over the years, Chad has experienced continuous terrorist threats in the border areas near the population. Boko Haram persisted in using IEDs in the Lake Chad region but more often undertook raids with semiautomatic rifles.  BH and ISIS-West Africa had minimal presence in Chad, with BH leading the most activity within Chad.

Security forces and vital government services remained under-resourced, restricting the Chadian government’s ability to handle all security concerns. Still, Chadian armed forces led tasks within the Sahel to safeguard regional security. Chad continued to back the following counterterrorism measures: deploying soldiers to Mali to assist the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization effort in Mali, supporting the Lake Chad region’s Multinational Joint Task Force, and deploying forces to the G-5 Sahel Joint Force.

Moreover, The US continued support for Chad’s Special Antiterrorism Group Division, which is aimed at fighting terrorism in the Lake Chad Basin and across the Sahel, and other Chadian military forces involved in the counterterrorism fight for the majority of 2022. The Director General of the National Police continued supporting U.S. CT measures, and the Counterterrorism Investigation Unit has already thrived in funding an operation to seize illegal weapons in the Lake Chad region and conducted an operation to capture a substantial quantity of drugs in N’Djamena. Illicit trade has often been utilized to fund terrorist groups operating in the Lake Chad region.

Safeguarding borders remains difficult. Porous borders, especially across Lake Chad, provide an easy route for terrorists and criminal entities. Border security stayed a shared mission of the Gendarmes, Army, Customs, and the National and Nomadic Guard, which needs to be resourced sufficiently. The army and GNNT formed the front line in nearly all critical incidents involving BH and ISIS-WA. At ports of entry, both air and ground, Chad persisted to be a partner in the Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System program, which creates capacity for allies to screen travelers against known terrorist databases.

Chad is also a member of the Task Force on Money Laundering in Central Africa. The government’s FIU, Agence Nationale d ’Investigation Financière du Tchad, is a part of the Egmont Group. 

Chad actively fights against violent extremism. The High Council of Islamic Affairs encouraged peaceful coexistence and tolerance, and diverse faith sets used the Dialogue to counter conflict. The national coordination seat for the G-5 Sahel carried its radicalization to the violence prevention unit, which forms coordination meetings of CVE practitioners.

Chad also deploys security detachments to contribute to regional stability in the Sahel. Chad committed 1,425 soldiers trained by the US to the most challenging territory of Mali as part of MINUSMA, 2,000 soldiers with the assistance of the MNJTF, and 650 soldiers in northern Chad as part of the G-5 Sahel Joint Force East Zone Headquarters. Further, Chad deployed 1,200 troops in the Liptako-Gourma tri-border area, joining Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso as part of the G-5 Sahel Joint Force. Chad also backed the Chad-Sudan Mixed Force by contributing nearly 900 soldiers to the joint border security effort with Sudan.

N’Djamena serves as the headquarters of the five-nation (Cameroon, Benin, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria) MNJTF, which was developed to counter the threat posed by ISIS-WA, al-Qa’ida, and Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region. N’Djamena is also home to France’s largest operational military deployment in the world, formerly known as Task Force Barkhane, which supplies French military planners with strategic command posts while reevaluating the array of French forces throughout the Sahel.

Chad has acquired security resource support from the EU, France, Germany, Italy, the People’s Republic of China, Russia, and Türkiye in the past, and continued resource shortfalls are forcing Chad to re-assess its need for military capabilities to address encroaching security challenges, including terrorism.

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