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Conditions Improving for a US Return to Libya, Marine Commander Says

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

The commander of a special Marine Corps task force said Friday that conditions on the ground are improving for the return a U.S. diplomatic mission to Libya, six years after a devastating attack on the American consulate in Benghazi left four Americans dead.

Col. Adam Chalkley, commander of Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response Africa — the unit created as a result of the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans — said he spent much of his time on a recent six-month deployemnt helping to ensure there would be no repeat of that tragedy.

“There were indications that … recent improvements in the landscape and the operating environment of Libya were suggestive that a reintroduction a diplomatic mission was on the near horizon,” Chalkley said during a presentation at the Virginia-based Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.

“State Department was putting a lot of effort into building that out and doing key leader engagements that would enable [this] from a national interest perspective, so that really dominated what we were doing,” he said.

Chalkley’s top operational priority was “we couldn’t have another Benghazi,” he said. “We cannot have another event like that … a flashpoint that is going to result in the loss of U.S. diplomatic blue chips or loss of life.”

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