Trump orders most American troops to leave Somalia

The Pentagon has said it is pulling most US troops out of Somalia on President Donald Trump’s orders, continuing a post-election push by Trump to shrink US involvement in counterterrorism missions abroad.

Without providing details, the Pentagon on Friday said in a short statement that “a majority” of US troops and assets in Somalia will be withdrawn in early 2021. There are currently about 700 troops in that Horn of Africa nation, training and advising local forces in an extended fight against the extremist group al-Shabab, an affiliate of al-Qaida.

Trump recently ordered troop drawdowns in Afghanistan and Iraq, and he was expected to withdraw some or all troops from Somalia. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had said on Wednesday that the future structure of the U.S. military presence in Somalia was still in debate.

Langevin said China will use the opportunity to build its influence in the Horn of Africa.

The Pentagon said the drawdown in Somalia does not mark the end of U.S. counterterrorism efforts there.

“As a result of this decision, some forces may be reassigned outside of East Africa,” it said. “However, the remaining forces will be repositioned from Somalia into neighbouring countries in order to allow cross-border operations by both U.S. and partner forces to maintain pressure against violent extremist organizations operating in Somalia.”

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