US and Algeria to strengthen counterterrorism ties

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said America wants to strengthen its cooperation with Algeria to fight terrorism in the unstable Sahel region.

Kerry is in Algiers for strategic security talks and on Thursday described Algeria as an "important partner" in fighting terrorism.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb has targeted the Sahel region, which is an arid strip of land across Africa that touches Algeria's south.

The group began as an Islamist insurgency in Algeria and became linked to al-Qaida in 2006. Its militants have prowled the vast terrain of the Sahel region to kidnap people and seek ransom to fund their activities.

Kerry is in Algeria for two days of talks with his Algerian counterpart, Ramtane Lamamra, and is due next in Morocco.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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