Filed Under: International

Biden to send US troops back to Somalia, reversing Trump withdrawal

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President Joe Biden signed an order that would send hundreds of troops back to Somalia less than two years after former President Donald Trump pulled them out of the country. The order was first reported by The New York Times.

U.S. troops will be repositioned from elsewhere in Africa to train and provide other support to Somali forces in their fight against al-Shabab, a group considered the largest and wealthiest affiliate of the al-Qaida extremist organization.

“Our forces are not now, nor will they be, directly engaged in combat operations,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said at his daily briefing. “The purpose here is to enable a more effective fight against al-Shabab by local forces.”

The exact number of U.S. troops that will be in Somalia is unclear. However, a senior Biden administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity to brief journalists on the decision said it will be “under 500.”

Former President Trump ordered the withdrawal of approximately 700 troops from Somalia at the end of his term. The move was part of a broader policy of seeking to pull the U.S. out of what Trump referred to as “endless wars” around the world. President Biden seemingly expanded on this policy with his withdrawal from Afghanistan last August.

American military leaders said Trump’s withdrawal hampered the country’s ability to counter al-Shabab.

“In my view, we are marching in place at best. We may be backsliding,” Gen. Stephen Townsend, head of U.S. Africa Command, told the Senate Armed Forces Committee back in March.

Biden’s decision to sign the order sending troops to Somalia came a day after former Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected back into office over the weekend. He had served as president from 2012 to 2017 before being voted out.

“When it comes to grudges of any kind, I am prepared to resolve them, just as I said when I announced my candidacy earlier this week. No revenge and no political tracking that targets anyone,” President Mohamud said Sunday. “This country has enough rules and laws and if any difference arises, we will review the laws this country enacted.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jimmie Johnson: AMERICAN SPECIAL FORCES ARE HEADED BACK TO SOMALIA.
THE NEW YORK TIMES REPORTS THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION IS PLANNING AN OPEN-ENDED COUNTERTERRORISM OPERATION IN THE COUNTRY.
THE ORDER WOULD REVERSE FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S PULLOUT OF ROUGHLY 700 TROOPS AT THE END OF 2020.
THE MOVE IS ALSO A CONTRAST TO PRESIDENT BIDEN’S OWN DECISION LAST YEAR TO PULL FORCES OUT OF AFGHANISTAN.
THE SITUATION IN SOMALIA – NOW EXTENDS ACROSS THREE ADMINISTRATIONS.
AMERICAN SOLDIERS HAD BEEN FIGHTING AGAINST LOCAL AL QAEDA-ALIGNED TERRORIST FORCES FOR MORE THAN A DECADE — BEFORE BEING ORDERED TO PULL OUT.
IT’S STILL UNCLEAR HOW MANY U-S TROOPS WILL BE DEPLOYED.
INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS ESTIMATE THAT AL SHABAB HAS ABOUT FIVE THOUSAND TO 10-THOUSAND MEMBERS.
TODAY’S ANNOUNCEMENT COMES JUST A DAY AFTER THE COUNTRY ELECTED HASSAN SHAKE MOHAMUD AS PRESIDENT A SECOND TIME.
HE WAS VOTED OUT IN 2017.

President Joe Biden signed an order that would send hundreds of troops back to Somalia less than two years after former President Donald Trump pulled them out of the country. The order was first reported by The New York Times.

U.S. troops will be repositioned from elsewhere in Africa to train and provide other support to Somali forces in their fight against al-Shabab, a group considered the largest and wealthiest affiliate of the al-Qaida extremist organization.

“Our forces are not now, nor will they be, directly engaged in combat operations,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said at his daily briefing. “The purpose here is to enable a more effective fight against al-Shabab by local forces.”

The exact number of U.S. troops that will be in Somalia is unclear. However, a senior Biden administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity to brief journalists on the decision said it will be “under 500.”

Former President Trump ordered the withdrawal of approximately 700 troops from Somalia at the end of his term. The move was part of a broader policy of seeking to pull the U.S. out of what Trump referred to as “endless wars” around the world. President Biden seemingly expanded on this policy with his withdrawal from Afghanistan last August.

American military leaders said Trump’s withdrawal hampered the country’s ability to counter al-Shabab.

“In my view, we are marching in place at best. We may be backsliding,” Gen. Stephen Townsend, head of U.S. Africa Command, told the Senate Armed Forces Committee back in March.

Biden’s decision to sign the order sending troops to Somalia came a day after former Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected back into office over the weekend. He had served as president from 2012 to 2017 before being voted out.

“When it comes to grudges of any kind, I am prepared to resolve them, just as I said when I announced my candidacy earlier this week. No revenge and no political tracking that targets anyone,” President Mohamud said Sunday. “This country has enough rules and laws and if any difference arises, we will review the laws this country enacted.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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