U.S. withdraws most troops from Somalia by “early 2021”

December 4th – The Trump administration on Friday ordered most US troops from Somalia. A move warned by Pentagon observers last month could damage the country’s interests in al-Shabaab.

The Pentagon said Somalia’s “most of its workforce and assets” would be removed from East African countries by “early 2021.” A news release from the department refused to provide a specific timeline for travel.

“As a result of this decision, some units may be relocated outside East Africa,” the release said. “But the rest of the troops are nearby from Somalia to allow cross-border operations by both the United States and partner forces to maintain pressure on violent extremist organizations operating in Somalia. It will be relocated to each country. “

The United States maintains approximately 700 troops in Somalia to train and advise local Somali troops, primarily in the fight against al-Qaeda’s largest affiliate, al-Shabaab, and Islamic State affiliates. .. US military personnel carried out an airstrike that killed al-Shabaab’s top leader in September.

The Pentagon said the decision to eliminate most troops would not change US policy.

“The United States has not withdrawn or withdrawn from Africa. We continue to commit to our African partners and continue to support them through a government-wide approach,” the statement said.

“We will continue to degrade violent extremist organizations that can threaten our homeland, while maintaining a strategic advantage in competition between the great powers.”

However, a November Pentagon inspector general reported that US military cuts could hurt the Somali government’s interests in al-Shabaab.

“Despite years of pressure from Somalia in the United States and international anti-terrorism, the threat of terrorism in East Africa has not exacerbated,” the report said. “Al-Shabaab retains freedom of movement in many parts of southern Somalia, demonstrating its ability and intent to attack abroad, including targeting US interests.”

Clyde Hughes contributed to this report.

U.S. withdraws most troops from Somalia by “early 2021”

Source link U.S. withdraws most troops from Somalia by “early 2021”

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