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Ansar al-Dine plans Islamic state in Timbuktu

Al Jazeera covers the declaration of an Islamic state by Ansar al-Dine, an Islamist group "fighting alongside the main Tuareg rebel group in Mali."

READER COMMENTS: "Ansar al-Dine plans Islamic state in Timbuktu"

Posted by Cass McDonough at April 16, 2012 8:00 AM ET:

Are these "Islamist fighters" working with the Tauregs Al Qaeda? What a sorry thing to happen. I worked with USAID for 30 years to improve agriculture in Mali, and now it seems it's for nothing. Moussa Traore was no angel, but under his dictatorship, he honestly cared about the well being of the the regular people. His political opponents didn't fare well and were brutally dealt with, but that was the way of the tribes. He turned to the west for help for recovery from severe drought in the 70's and 80's. He took great childlike delight in escaping from his secret service guards when visiting, and he was a practical man who wanted his people to eat well and prosper. I had many discussions with him about Mali. We helped them make tremendous strides in crop development. Then riots, democracy and some hope, but the Tauregs were getting weapons and we couldn't go out to work with those in Timbuktu anymore. Amadou Toure tried his best as well in the 2000's, he sought the same goals, but the Tauregs were bearing down on the capital. Now this, and we couldn't leave Bamako safely, or today even go there. This is really a shame to watch all this happen.