I have spoken to people in the Malian military today who said they believe the UK's training support role will make a big difference, and here's why:
Everyone has been diplomatic saying that this was a west African operation that the French merely played a part in, the reality is that those governments were slow to get to Mali and they were ineffective at times.
When the French came in less than three weeks ago, they stormed through the place and they have taken almost every major town.
One British official said last week that it would take up to two months for Timbuktu to fall but it fell just two days after his comments.
The French know they cannot stay here forever but there is a sense that some of the west African forces are ill-equipped to do this extraordinary job of containing the jihadist threat which the French believe not only affects the region but Europe too.
Throughout ten months of Islamist rule, the people of Timbuktu risked their lives to preserve the artefacts of their ancient heritage.
Francois Hollande is due to visit Timbuktu during his visit to the West African country this weekend. He will be welcomed by many.
Downing Street have been explaining what offers the UK have made to the military effort in Mali.