The U.N., and the Security Council in particular, have oftentimes been criticized for lack of a comprehensive, all-encompassing approach to terrorism. However, the U.N’s response to the Islamist extremism exerting increasing influence in Northern Mali, Africa, may suggest the start of a new, more forceful U.N.

While the national Mali government has been restored since the coup led against Mali President Amadou Toumani Touré months ago, the situation in Northern Mali has consistently worsened, with a heightened Islamic extremist presence in the region.

To bring Northern Mali back under control, in December 2012 the U.N. authorized an African-led military force called AFISMA to reestablish a sense of order in the Northern region of the country. The unit will consist of Mali citizens as well as others from various African nations, and will train under the supervision of the E.U.

AFISMA, which has been given an initial 1-year mandate, has also been authorized to use full-on military force and any means necessary—within international human rights laws—to achieve its objective.

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