Rabat – Having met with senior officials in Morocco, Army General Stephen T. Townsend, the commander of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), said on August 29 that Morocco is a “strong” counterterrorism partner.During his visit to Rabat, Townsend emphasized to the press the importance of the relationship between Morocco and the US.The US official said that the relationship between the two countries is “based on a mutual commitment to security and sustainable development in the region.” “By training together with other African partners, the US military and the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces can improve our ability to work together and provide a safe, more prosperous future for the region,” he said.Townsend added that Morocco is a regional leader in security as it secures not only its own borders, but also brings security to the rest of Africa through training and peacekeeping operations.Read Also: Donald Trump: US and Morocco Still Have a Lot to Accomplish TogetherThe US military official also spoke about the worrying situation in the Sahel region,  emphasizing that the US share Morocco’s concerns about the instability in the region.Head of Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) Abdelhak Khiame has long warned of the alarming situation in the Sahel.In a series of interviews,  Khiame explained that gangs and criminal networks consider the Sahel region a safe zone for terror cells.He said that a lack of security cooperation in the region is exacerbating the already fraught issue.In response to the threat in the region, Townsend said, “We are working with all of our African partners and international partners to try to solve this problem.”The US official reiterated the US acknowledgment of Morocco’s efforts to stand against extremism, radicalization, and terrorism.Morocco has modernized its security strategy. The surge of terror threats in Morocco urged Morocco to introduce in 2015 the BCIJ, who has been dismantling terror cells for years.The 2018 Global Terrorism Index listed Morocco among the least impacted countries by terrorism. Morocco’s counterterrorism strategy, according to the report, makes the North African country safer than powerful countries, including the US, ranked 20th, and France ranked 30th. Morocco ranked 132nd out of 163 in the 2018 terrorism index.In addition to Morocco’s efforts in curbing terrorism, Townsend also extolled Morocco’s cooperation under peacekeeping operations.Morocco contributes with more than 2,100 uniformed peacekeeping volunteers.Townsend also praised the annual African Lion exercise, the largest exercise that AFRICOM undertakes.Morocco has been hosting the exercise as the primary sponsor for years, Townsend said. He added that the next exercise will convene 3000 participants from 21 partner nations, including at least eight African partner nations.