It is appropriate for France to take the lead role in its former African colony of Mali against Islamic extremists there.

It is equally appropriate that the U.S. support that effort logistically. The freedom of all democratic nations is threatened by radical Islamists who have al-Qaida links.

No country has been targeted more than the U.S. by these groups. Subsequently, the French fight is, by necessity, our fight as well.

The weakened government in Mali has been struggling since a military coup unleashed chaos last March in the capital.

In September, a convoy of extremists entered Douentza. In the following months, extremists forced women to wear veils and enlisted children as young as 12 years old as soldiers in training.

The U.S. has taken an active role in helping the French, who began their mission in Mali on Jan. 11 after extremists pushed south and threatened the capital.

The U.S. Air Force has flown five C-17 flights into Mali, delivering more than 80 French troops and 124 tons of equipment thus far in an ongoing airlift operation. The U.S. is also considering a French request for aerial refueling support.

U.S. support of France in Mali is much needed and will hopefully help the French military run these extremists out of the region.

While France has not always been the most supportive ally to the U.S. in the past, it says a lot that America is taking the high road on this most serious issue and doing all it can to provide aid and assistance to the French.

— Daily News, Bowling Green, Ky., Jan. 24

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