KIGALI, Rwanda, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- The U.N. African Union Mission in Darfur has started receiving much-needed airlift support from the United States.
The U.S. Air Force has begun providing airlift support to the Rwandan military, moving U.N. armored personnel carriers and other supplies in and out of the Darfur region.
In July, the U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution creating UNAMID. The lift and logistical support provided by the United States is a significant step forward for the African peacekeeping operations. Critics have said without help from the United States troops and supplies wouldn't be able to move in or out of the region.
The Rwandan battalion is working with a unit from Nigeria as part of the UNAMID. Officials say UNAMID anticipates having 26,000 troops on the ground in Darfur by the beginning of 2008
In order to ensure the battalion from Rwanda was fully supported, the USAF's 86th Contingency Response Group, working out of Kigali International Airport in Kigali, Rwanda, has been loading equipment and Rwandan soldiers onto C-17 Globemaster III aircrafts.
"This is the type of mission we train for," said Tech. Sgt. David Taylor, the 786th AES contingency response team chief, who has been involved with this mission in Rwanda five times since 2005, in a statement. "We are happy to be part of this cooperative effort to accomplish the mission."