*

upload_article_image

Trump orders most American troops to leave Somalia

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

Without providing details, the Pentagon said in a short statement that “a majority" of U.S. troops and assets in Somalia will be withdrawn in early 2021.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.

U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 1-186th Infantry Battalion, Task Force Guardian, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, provide security for a 75th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron (EAS) C-130J Super Hercules during loading and unloading operations at an unidentified location in Somalia Friday, July 10, 2020. No country has been involved in Somalia's future as much as the United States but now the Trump administration is thinking of withdrawing the several hundred U.S. military troops from the nation at what some experts call the worst possible time. (Tech. Sgt. Christopher RuanoCombined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa via AP)

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 neighboring 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.”

U.S. Army Spc. Kevin Martin, junior sniper, assigned to the 1-186th Infantry Battalion, Task Force Guardian, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, provides security for a 75th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron (EAS) C-130J Super Hercules during unloading operations at an unidentified location in Somalia Sunday, June 28, 2020. No country has been involved in Somalia's future as much as the United States but now the Trump administration is thinking of withdrawing the several hundred U.S. military troops from the nation at what some experts call the worst possible time. (Tech. Sgt. Christopher RuanoCombined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa via AP)