Under the stated goals of fighting terrorism and providing humanitarian assistance, AFRICOM implanted itself on the continent, conducting military exercises with a growing number of African countries.
OPINION: The consequences of the US war on terrorism in Africa The establishment of AFRICOM was key for the consolidation of US interests in Africa.
Ivory and gold made it a major crossroads for global trade at the time. "We are the transition between North Africa and Africa that reaches the ocean and the forests.
This gives us an important strategic position: whoever controls Mali, controls West Africa - if not the whole of Africa ...
This opposition forced the US to set up the command of AFRICOM thousands of miles away, in Stuttgart, Germany.
Nelson Mandela's view was almost identical to Gaddafi's that there would be no African forces commanded by foreign military officials, and there would be no foreign militaries occupying any part of Africa or operating within Africa.
They established their first military base in Djibouti.
That's why this region became so coveted," says Doulaye Konate from the Association of African Historians.
RELATED: Mapping Africa's natural resources The imperial European powers unveiled their plans to colonise Mali and the rest of Africa at the Berlin Conference in 1885.
"The Sahel played a key role in looking at the movement of weapons, the movement of potential foreign fighters, and organised crime ...," says Rudolph Atallah, the former Director of Africa Counter-Terrorism, US Department of Defense.
The United States is the only country to have divided the world into separate military sectors to monitor and patrol, NORTHCOM, PACOM, SOUTHCOM, EUCOM, CENTCOM and now AFRICOM.