A US special operations unit deployed to Libya as part of a mission was ordered to leave soon after arriving at Wattiya airbase in the country.
According to the Libyan Air Force, around 20 US commandos left the country after local commanders asked them to disembark as they had no permission to be at the airbase ‘without prior coordination with protection force base’.
US and Libyan officials reported that the deployment failure was due to ‘a possible mix-up between the Libyan air force and army’.
Confirming the incident to NBC News, senior US defence officials were quoted as saying that the American commandos have been ‘in and out of Libya’ for ‘some time now’.
The commandoes were deployed not to carry out any combat operations or training but to advise Libyan forces, according to the officials.
The Libyan Air Force Facebook page also featured pictures that showed three US commandos carrying assault rifles and the ‘troops boarding a blue and white-striped passenger plane and driving a yellow dune buggy’.
A Facebook post by the Libyan Air Force noted that the 20 soldiers had disembarked ‘in combat readiness wearing bulletproof jackets, advanced weapons, silencers, handguns, night-vision devices and GPS devices’.
According to The Associated Press, the incident took place at a time when Libya’s two rival parliaments signed an UN-sponsored peace deal.