We're inching near, folks. On Monday, the United States signed an agreement with Niger that allows an American military presence on the border of conflict-ridden neighbor, Mali. The U.S. is in the beginning stages of building an intelligence-gathering hub in Niger that will be assisting France with its escalating military campaign and using drones to monitor nearby militants in Mali's northern desert. It is not yet known how many troops will be stationed in Niger or what exactly they will be doing. The agreement comes as French forces move into Timbuktu, and is a major sign of an increased U.S. role in the conflict.
militant troubles Claude Paris/AP