The Pentagon said Friday it would be pulling most U.S. troops out of Somalia by early 2021, per President Trump’s orders.
Why it matters: Although some of the 700 American troops in Somalia will be “repositioned” to neighboring countries, the announcement is the latest in Trump’s efforts to draw down the U.S. military presence in what he has described as “endless wars.”
- Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller announced last month that the U.S. would draw down its troop levels in both Afghanistan and Iraq to 2,500 by Jan. 15, 2021.
What they’re saying: “The U.S. is not withdrawing or disengaging from Africa,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
- “We remain committed to our African partners and enduring support through a whole-of-government approach.”
- “While a change in force posture, this action is not a change in U.S. policy. We will continue to degrade violent extremist organizations that could threaten our homeland while ensuring we maintain our strategic advantage in great power competition.”
- Without specifying, the Pentagon said some forces may be reassigned outside East Africa, but the remaining troops would repositioned to neighboring countries “to allow cross-border operations by both U.S. and partner forces to maintain pressure against violent extremist organizations operating in Somalia.”
- “The U.S. will retain the capability to conduct targeted counterterrorism operations in Somalia, and collect early warnings and indicators regarding threats to the homeland.”
- Somali officials did not immediately comment on Trump’s orders.