HSToday quotes Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham on US recognition of the jihadist threat from the African continent and why further cooperation between American and African officials is necessary for security on the continent:
Time and time again, the US has made the mistake of underestimating the threat posed by Africa-based jihadists to US persons and interests at home and abroad, according to the testimony of Dr. J. Peter Pham, director of the Africa Center.
For example, the Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism convened a hearing on Boko Haram in 2011 when the terrorist group was still obscure. Pham, who participated at that hearing, said other witnesses believed Boko Haram was simply a misunderstood social justice movement that should not be placed on the foreign terrorist organization list.
“There is a recurring trope that emerges time and again: terrorism in Africa generally gets short shrift and, when attention is focused on specific groups or situations that appear to be emerging challenges, the threat is either dismissed entirely or minimized—until tragedy strikes,” Pham said.