An email from a retired senior officer with knowledge of the attack says soldiers tried to convince nearby French warplanes to engage the enemy, to no avail

The US special forces detachment ambushed in the Niger last month fought alone for hours after the local Nigerien forces they were accompanying fled in the first minutes of the engagement, retired and serving special forces officers with knowledge of events have said.

The trapped soldiers also made repeated efforts to convince French warplanes sent from neighbouring Mali to engage the enemy, attempting to “talk in” the pilots who refused to attack due to poor weather, rough terrain and an inability to differentiate friend from foe, the officers said.

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