Trump orders Pentagon to pull nearly all troops from Somalia
US President Donald Trump has ordered the Pentagon to withdraw nearly all of the hundreds of American troops deployed to Somalia, which is part of a global pullback by the outgoing president that will also see him drawdown forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Trump “has ordered the Department of Defense and the United States Africa Command to reposition the majority of personnel and assets out of Somalia by early 2021,” the Department of Defense (DOD) said in a statement issued on Friday.
The Pentagon has about 700 troops stationed in Somalia where for more than a decade the United States has claimed to be helping local forces defeat the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab insurgency.
US forces in Somalia claim that they train and assist local security forces to fight the terrorist groups and also carry out airstrikes.
“While a change in force posture, this action is not a change in US policy,” the Pentagon said.
“The US will retain the capability to conduct targeted counterterrorism operations in Somalia, and collect early warnings and indicators regarding threats to the homeland,” it added.
In November, Trump ordered 2,000 US troops to be pulled from Afghanistan and 500 from Iraq by mid-January.
It was reported on November 16 that “there's been a verbal order from the White House to cut the number of troops in Afghanistan from about 4,500 to 2,500 by January. The cut in Iraq would drop the level from about 3,000 troops to 2,500. A formal order is expected this week and could come as early as tomorrow.”