The first two of an initial team of 11 U.S. soldiers arrived in Libya this week to help lay the groundwork for upcoming training of Libyan forces in Bulgaria, which is expected to begin in July, a U.S. military official told Reuters on Wednesday.

The United States announced last year its plans to train 5,000 to 8,000 Libyan forces at the request of Tripoli, where a weak central government is struggling with rebels for control of vital petroleum resources three years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

The U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the team on the ground in Libya would help address logistical issues related to the training, included vetting of recruits.