The U.S. military is using small spy aircraft disguised as private planes as it expands secret intelligence operations across Africa, The Washington Post reported late Wednesday.

The surveillance missions are part of a “growing shadow war against al-Qaida affiliates and other militant groups,” the newspaper said.

Citing a former U.S. commander, the Post said about dozen air bases have been set up for the unarmed spy planes in Africa since 2007. The newspaper said they include sites in Burkina Faso, Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya as well as in the Seychelles.

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